The full tabs for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now online here.

The budget questions were all largely unsurprising – the mansion tax remains very popular (75% support on £2m houses), as is increasing the personal tax allowance and cutting fuel duty. People also continue to support the ending of child benefit for higher rate taxpayers by 62% to 30%. Abolishing higher rate tax relief on pension contributions was much less so – 42% supported and 31% opposed.

Turning to workfare, there is majority support for both the voluntary work experience system (supported by 59% and opposed by 34%) and mandatory work placements for long term unemployed people (supported by 61% and opposed by 32%). On the principle of whether companies are making a positive contribution by taking part in the scheme or exploiting the unemployed, 52% think it is a good thing for companies to provide unpaid work, 34% think it is a bad thing.

The survey also repeated questions on the government’s health policy from a fortnight ago, finding a slight drop in the already low support for the government’s proposals. Now only 14% support them (compared to 18% a week ago) with 48% opposed (no change). 38% say don’t know. Half of Tory voters now think the government should drop the bill.

On Syria there is little change from a fortnight ago, the picture remains that a majority of people would support economic sanctions against Syria, but very few would back military intervention. The majority of those who would back Western action against Syria would do so only with UN support.

UPDATE: How embarrassing – I was looking at the wrong column, half of Tory supporters think the government should continue with the bill (technically, of course, that means half don’t, but that’s divided between 21% who think they should drop it and 30% who don’t know).


67 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times on workfare, NHS & Syria”

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  1. Everything which taxes the rich & established or gives to the poorer & younger population is overwhelmingly popular in YG’s poll.

    Osborne isn’t going to be able to give much to his own constituency on personal tax in his budget; they’ll have to be grateful for the status quo.

    I expect there will be giveaways to business, though.
    8-)

  2. Interesting the improvement in how people perceive the government are handling the economy, presumably after the improvement in a couple of figures in the last week or so. It suggests what a big difference this could make in future voting intentions if the economy shows any pick up at all. Also with the news from Greece etc. it perhaps makes people think that Osborne is not doing so bad a job as perhaps Balls likes to make out.

  3. @ Dingo

    Yes, Labour will need to have a mission/ plan to rebalance the economy which has a broad appeal, regardless of whether the economy is trashed or recovering by 2015.

    Labour will definitely struggle to win on the nuts & bolts – they need to encourage people to look at the bigger picture.
    8-)

  4. “52% think it is a good thing for companies to provide unpaid work, 34% think it is a bad thing.”

    I think the use of “provide” in this context misunderstands the relationships in question.

  5. I am very surprised by the level of public support for compulsory and unpaid work for the long-term unemployed? Why would anyone be for what is pretty much slave labour, especially for MNCs? I could understand if it was compulsory and paid but not compulsory and unpaid. I am also quite surprised that the lefter-leaning parties seem to be more in favour of military intervention. I always assumed that it would be vice-versa with the left-leaning having a more pacifist approach.

  6. “Half of Tory voters now think the government should drop the bill.”

    This may be the critical point – it has often been when it’s own supporters run for cover (e.g. forrestry sell-off) that the govt has been forced to change. This is also what happened with the Poll Tax.

    Could be a very interesting week for the coalition! Probably not a good time to pick a fight with the Docs over their pensions!

  7. The government’s proposed reforms of the National Heath Service are currently going through Parliament. From what you have seen or heard about them, do you support or oppose the government’s NHS reforms?

    Conservatives voters:
    Support 39%
    Oppose 19%
    Don’t know 42%

    Epic communications fail when 42% of your own supporters don’t know whether to support or oppose a policy.

    Taking everything into account, do you think the government should continue with their proposed reforms to the NHS or abandon them?
    Conservatives voters:
    Continue 50%
    Abandon 21%
    Don’t know 30%

    Could that 50% actually be 49.6% rounded up? :twisted:

    Anyways, the default position is usually to support the policies which ‘your’ Party is proposing therefore only half of Cons supporting their own Party’s reforms is rather bad news for Mr Lansley.

    The ‘don’t knows’ are Lansley’s life-line. They allow the Tory opposition to be dismissed as poor communication; bring in Dave’s PR skills & all will be well. Except… not so much. His Health Summit was followed by two key groups who’d attended going public with their opposition to the Bill.

    Will the PM have better luck with voting public?
    8-)

  8. David Anthony

    “I am very surprised by the level of public support for compulsory and unpaid work for the long-term unemployed?”

    I wouldn’t be. In fact, I’m not remotely surprised because the majority of people answering the question will probably have little or no direct contact with young unemployed people. There will be many who will have stereotypical images in their minds, fanned by media imagery and tendentious politicians, of lazy idlers looling on settees playing video games all day, and this will inform a good part of their prejudice. Indeed, if this was your picture of the young unemployed, why wouldn’t you be supportive of measures to “get them off their backsides and earning their dole money”.

    Of course, if you were one of those young unemployed, low on self esteem and desperate to be given a chance in a paid and full time job, or were a parent of someone in that predicament, you might take a different view of what, in essence, is an exploitative scheme to help large employers massage short-term demand spikes without having to hire agency labour at a higher cost. I don’t suppose many of these employers have the slightest intention of providing the prospect of real employment at the end of the placement or even have, in the furthest corners of their minds, any philanthropic motivation at all.

  9. @ Crossbat

    YG wasn’t asked to question the voting public on the thing which they most disagree with. The question which the Sunday Times didn’t ask:

    Do you support or oppose profitable companies being provided with free Labour which is tax-payer funded via the welfare system?
    8-)

  10. Anthony

    I wonder if many people actually understand what is meant by “Abolishing higher rate tax relief on pension contributions”. 27% admitted they didn’t know, but we all know that YouGov panellists tend to have opinions on things they don’t know about.

    I can’t help noticing that there is surprisingly little Party difference on this question – indeed Conservatives are most in favour – which tend to make me think that many people answering aren’t really sure what the question is about and which Parties support it. Indeed the Party most in favour is the Lib Dems whose voters are least in favour (usual warning about small sample).

    It would be interesting to see the reaction if it had been asked with an explanatory preamble – and the difference if that was explanatory or political.

  11. More on the question :-

    “Taking everything into account, do you think the government should continue with their proposed reforms to the NHS or abandon them”

    2010 LibDem voters responded :-

    %
    Continue 8
    Abandon 62
    Don’t know 30

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Coalition stance? The Libdem Spring Conference should be fun for Mr Clegg. How do I get a ticket ?

  12. @AMBER STAR

    You make two unfounded claims about public opinion without evidence.

    You claim most people think it’s free labour for profit making companies then you claim most people object to it both you have no evidence for.

    Then you sugges a question that tells people what to think and is therefore a leading question.

    Given that this poll shows 52% saying they think it’s a positive thing for these companies to be inlvolved vs just
    34% who think otherwise I ask what makes you think most see it as providing free labour to profit making companies?

    I suggest it shows the opposite and that you should stop making unfounded claims without evidence just because it’s what you think.

  13. @ LeeTay

    Giving unpaid work placements to the unemployed is a positive thing for a company to do, helping young unemployed people get experience of real work.
    ——————————–
    LOL :-)

    My question is no more of a ‘push’ than YG’s.

    The work placements are not only for the “young” unemployed; & they include people who already have “experience” of work. The use of “real” is an unnecessary embellishment which, IMO, pushes for agreement by implying that people being sent for placements are lazy b*ggers who have never done “real” work in their lives.
    8-)

  14. How about a question like:

    Do you think employers should pay people for working on the night shift?

  15. AmberStar

    “Do you support or oppose profitable companies being provided with free Labour which is tax-payer funded via the welfare system?”

    This is my problem with applying too much significance to polling data where people are asked to respond to questions on the basis of only the flimsiest of knowledge of the subject, especially when the question is posed blandly and quasi-euphemistically. Workfare, voluntary work experience and mandatory work placements are expressions that belong to the land of ministerial mumbo jumbo and management corpo-speak. The question you ask, while tendentious in its own way, would derive data of at least the same value.

    By the way, I think the responses to the questions on Lansley’s health reforms suffer from a similar problem. The respondents are either prejudiced and/or lack the detailed knowledge of what’s being proposed. The fact that I prefer the responses personally doesn’t mean that I value the integrity of the polling data any more than I do the responses on workfare.

    I think this sort of questioning, and the subsequent partisan use of the data provided, gets perilously close to bringing opinion polling into disrepute sometimes.

  16. @ Crossbat11

    “I wouldn’t be. In fact, I’m not remotely surprised because the majority of people answering the question will probably have little or no direct contact with young unemployed people. There will be many who will have stereotypical images in their minds, fanned by media imagery and tendentious politicians, of lazy idlers looling on settees playing video games all day, and this will inform a good part of their prejudice. Indeed, if this was your picture of the young unemployed, why wouldn’t you be supportive of measures to “get them off their backsides and earning their dole money”.”

    I think that the issue is that there are any number of times when a really bad idea sounds perfectly reasonable and logical to the public. Even if the idea is in reality a terrible one, people will support it if it sounds like “common sense.”

    There are a number of problems with these kinds of requirements. I think the biggest problem is that it actually keeps people on welfare longer. Why? Because while one works for free, they don’t have that time to otherwise be looking for work. Additionally, that kind of experience (being forced into menial labor) is not neccessarily going to impress a future employer.

    “Of course, if you were one of those young unemployed, low on self esteem and desperate to be given a chance in a paid and full time job, or were a parent of someone in that predicament, you might take a different view of what, in essence, is an exploitative scheme to help large employers massage short-term demand spikes without having to hire agency labour at a higher cost. I don’t suppose many of these employers have the slightest intention of providing the prospect of real employment at the end of the placement or even have, in the furthest corners of their minds, any philanthropic motivation at all.”

    I think that what these employers are doing (if the allegations of that young woman suing are true) is essentially defrauding the public. Because you’re basically taking free labor with a government subsidy for it in exchange for the promise of creating permanent employment without any intention of actually creating any permanent employment.

  17. As a young, unemployed person myself (well, I am 29 – so not sure if that counts!), I am totally against the voluntary work experience scheme. Seems like a case of large, multinational companies being allowed to get away with slave labour to me! Also, someone just out of uni with a good degree could reasonably expect to do rather better than having to work for, say, Tesco or Sainsbury’s!

  18. The problem is that none of these so-called schemes do anything to tackle the real problem ‘unemployeds’ who refuse to work and are a burden on taxpayers. All it does is punish and stigmatise those young people who have left school/uni and want to, but are unable to, find work.

  19. Ambivalentsupporter

    I have to agree with that. The main point is this “work experience” won’t actually benefit anyone taking part in it.

    I think it’s terribly cynical of people to assume people start life “unable to work”. Stacking shelves or flipping burgers for 2 months for free won’t actually improve someone’s confidence. If anything it reinforces “you aren’t worth a wage”

    Frankly if employers assume that people under the age of 24 are unfit for work and refuse to hire on that basis, that is discrimination pure and simple. Replace “under 24” with any of black, gay, female or Jewish and it clearly would be unacceptable. The reason youth unemployment is so much higher that the other combines age categories is that employers do and are allowed to discriminate against youth.

  20. @Alan,

    I totally agree. How is learning to stack shelves gonna help young people?? If people say it helps them to develop a good work ethic/feel useful, then they are effectively labelling (and stigamatising) all school and uni leavers who are unable to find a job as lazy. This is simply twaddle – rather like these schemes – IMO.

  21. Although almost two thirds of those polled appear to support the voluntary and mandatory initiatives of the Government to reduce unemployment, a number of contributors to this site, clearly oppose it and refer to ‘slave labour’.

    When my old Dad left school to seek work in the 20s, he offered to work free to gain work experience, and hopefully learn a skill. A number of businesses turned him down. However, when he was offered a job, he was paid a small wage and did learn skills which helped him gain better jobs.

    When I left University I had great difficulty finding a job, and settled for a business in central London that barely covered my travel expenses. But it taught me skills (in early computing) and once I had developed these skills I was able to earn a decent wage.

    My view is that anyone unemployed is far better gaining employment, however little it pays and even if they believe the work is inferior, rather than sitting at home on the dole. Even a job that does not provide extensive training will still provide experience, and allow the young person to demonstrate good time keeping, a positive attitude and enthusiasm.

  22. @ Nick P

    “Do you think employers should pay people for working on the night shift?”

    Wouldn’t 100% of people answer yes to that question?

    Having worked an overnight shift myself (an interesting and memorable experience I’d prefer not to do again), I can’t imagine anyone not getting paid for those hours.

    It was actually kinda funny. This summer when I was having a sleep study done, I was struggling to fall asleep (once again and much to my frustration) and about 2 am in the morning, I got to talking to one of the nurses when I had to get up to go to the bathroom. She was very nice and we got to talking about the difficulties of working the overnight shift (there are a lot of night shift jobs that are neccessary) and I was comiserating with her about all the people who treated her rudely. I told her about my experience of working overnight one summer and her response was funny. She said “let me guess, you got your ass back into school didn’t you?” :)

  23. @ Henry

    “My view is that anyone unemployed is far better gaining employment, however little it pays and even if they believe the work is inferior, rather than sitting at home on the dole. Even a job that does not provide extensive training will still provide experience, and allow the young person to demonstrate good time keeping, a positive attitude and enthusiasm.”

    I agree. However, I think there’s a difference between little pay and inferior work and no pay for inferior work that is billed as a valuable training opportunity. I think there’s also a problem of what the government is paying for. I can tell you that I would have major problems with my taxpayer dollar going to subsidize private businesses so that they didn’t have to pay for menial labor. If these businesses want to hire janitors, busboys, cleaning ladies, movers, shelf stackers….they ought to pay for it themselves.

    I’ve done a lot of unpaid internships in my life. They were for the most part highly fulfilling experiences that gave me a lot of good training and experience. And it was clear from the begginning that I was there as an intern for a short period of time and that this was not a potential future job opportunity. The government did not have to subsidize any of my internships though and I think it would have been inappropriate had they done so.

    Plus, if you really think about it, when you force someone to work for someone else for free, are you really teaching them value for work? Not really. One is being forced to do a job by the government and they’re being taught that the value of their work is well nothing.

  24. @ [email protected] Nick P
    “Do you think employers should pay people for working on the night shift?”
    Wouldn’t 100% of people answer yes to that question?

    —————-

    I think NickP might have been using a little irony here. 8-)

  25. socal

    The first furore was over Tesco offering night shift jobs to the unemployed for JSA plus expenses.

    No wage in other words.

    Tesco got the reacion they deserved and have now pulled out. Government spokesman say the campaign against was by communists. The language used is now becoming ridiculous.

  26. Henry

    There is a huge difference between working for a small wage and learning real skills that further your career and stacking shelves for nothing.

    I don’t buy the argument that a school leaver of any age be it at 16 or with a masters degree is not worth a wage because everyone starts off in life unemployable until they stack shelves for x months.

    Making assumptions about someone’s work ethic because of their age is just as bad as any other discrimination.

    I’ve been there, I’ve done the crap jobs for low wage and it didn’t benefit me at all, is was a complete waste of years of my life.

  27. @ Henry

    Although almost two thirds of those polled appear to support the voluntary and mandatory initiatives of the Government to reduce unemployment…
    ————————————-
    Aargh! It doesn’t reduce unemployment. It doesn’t create more jobs. At best it fills existing vacancies for free during a probation period, at worst it fills what could be real, paying jobs with people who are still receiving unemployment benefit.

    No new jobs are being created by the program. Why is that so difficult for people to understand?
    8-)

  28. A very healthy sample for the Scottish crossbreak, and it muddies the water a little as it puts the Con VI on 23% and the Lab one on 34% (roughly the Cons talking 3.5% from the Labs).

    I assume that such a sample just takes the crossbreak and makes it less unreliable, rather than more reliable? :)

  29. Statgeek

    I that the 3 sd error on a sample of that size is about +/- 8 points. So in theory the cons could be ahead of labour!(within the margin of error).

    I think this is where the unwritten rule about Scottish cross breaks came in because every Scottish cross break will be interesting with those random errors thrown into the mix.

  30. Anthony

    It would interesting to see a graph or tracker of how the parties are doing in regard to male v female voters. Men appear to have moved from narrowly supporting Labour to backing the Tories over recent weeks. Women, however, appear to be increasing moving towards Labour.

  31. Anthony,

    As people we making requests… Could you tell folks at the Sun that a weekly Sunday Scottish poll in their new Scottish Sunday Sun, would be a great way to boost their sales….

    Although to be honest I still wouldn’t buy it.

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  32. @Henry,

    “My view is that anyone unemployed is far better gaining employment, however little it pays and even if they believe the work is inferior, rather than sitting at home on the dole.”

    I agree with you. However, that is not the issue here. The issue is whether it is fair that large, multinational companies who make billions each year in profit should be allowed to use young people to do their work without paying them adequately. Such arrangements are perfect for greedy companies, but like others on here I am not sure that young graduates or school leavers will learn any new skills from stacking shelves etc.

  33. @ Nick P

    “The first furore was over Tesco offering night shift jobs to the unemployed for JSA plus expenses.

    No wage in other words.”

    What? Are you f**king kidding me? My response to that is “oh hell no.”

    That’s ridiculous.

    Working overnight is something that can be quite unhealthy and is something that is typically not desired by people (though I do know some people who are natural night owls and prefer to be nocturnal). Most people who work overnight shifts typically tend to try to find something better and don’t last long at it because it’s not something they enjoy. When I worked my overnight shift, I think I did it forr 3 months or less. So for Tesco to try and get out of the difficulty of paying people and keeping people on overnight shifts by having the government subsidize them…..that’s ridiculous.

    Also, I’ve never been to a Tesco (well I don’t think I have), but isn’t it a supermarket/convenience store? It’s nice if it’s open all night and it makes things convenient for people. But it’s not a neccessity to society. It’s not like a firefighter or police officer or paramedic or ER doctor who works an overnight shift . In that sort of situation, I could see some actual benefit that someone would get from doing an overnight shift for free.

    “Tesco got the reacion they deserved and have now pulled out. Government spokesman say the campaign against was by communists. The language used is now becoming ridiculous.”

    That’s even more ridiculous. Frankly, this whole scheme sounds a lot like Communism. Really great in theory but completely unworkable and extremely negative for those subjected to it in reality.

    @ Valerie

    “I think NickP might have been using a little irony here.”

    Apparently, he wasn’t.

  34. As a supporter of work placements, and having seen how successful they are in introducing people with barriers back into the workplace, I can only assume that those people on here who object in principle, are disconnected from the real world, if you ever come down from your ivory towers and get involved in something useful, you will find that people of all ages love to get into work. By the way, I certainly wouldn’t introduce them into public service since the key word is work, and my experience of our public services, though limited, is that work is a dirty word. Roll on the privatisation of the NHS, and value for money for taxpayers, hopefully Lansley will be allowed to enact his reforms, and get rid of the couldn’t care less attitude that pervades the public services.

  35. Can people please not debate the actual issues here – people’s views tend to firmly entrenched, no one changes any minds or really tries to understand other people’s views… it just boils down to point scoring and ends in people being rude to each other.

  36. @ Amber Star

    “Aargh! It doesn’t reduce unemployment. It doesn’t create more jobs. At best it fills existing vacancies for free during a probation period, at worst it fills what could be real, paying jobs with people who are still receiving unemployment benefit.

    No new jobs are being created by the program. Why is that so difficult for people to understand?”

    It’s a way to punish people who receive jobless benefits and make the government feel like it’s doing something proactive (even when they’re not).

    It’s like what Florida is doing by requiring mandatory drug tests for all welfare recipients (before this massive exercise in government stupidity was halted by a federal court). It created zero new jobs, it didn’t get a single person off of welfare, and it in fact cost the state even more money. It was simply done to punish the poor and look proactive (part of typical right wing fantasy).

    Maybe I’m too much of a latte liberal but like who honestly wants to be on welfare?

  37. “…my experience of our public services, though limited, is that work is a dirty word. Roll on the privatisation of the NHS, and value for money for taxpayers, hopefully Lansley will be allowed to enact his reforms, and get rid of the couldn’t care less attitude that pervades the public services.”

    Oh well, Ken. All I can say is I hope Barbie doesn’t need her boob job reversed, cos apparently the private sector won’t do it.

  38. NICKP…………..How dare you imply that Barbie needs enhancement, the lady is completely natural, you, sir, are no gentleman.

    My CAPTCHA code is 37DD……oooooher !

  39. “people’s views tend to firmly entrenched, no one changes any minds or really tries to understand other people’s views… it just boils down to point scoring and ends in people being rude to each other.”

    In fairness, there’s a LOT you people teach me.

  40. Good Evening All. A good weekend of sport for Wales and Giggsy.
    A bit of my story: I lost a deputy headship of a big school due to a combination of factors, including depression and bullying when I was still young, age 39.
    That summer I got some work for £7.00 an hour teaching EFL.

    This summer I am going to get work washing dishes somewhere, as my part time teaching post is not enough when the tutorial season finishes. TEFL work has dried up.

    The Old Labour ethic had no time for people who will not work.

    He who will not work, will not eat: Thessalonians.

    So I am not opposed to the work fare trials, it gets ‘kids’ out of bed in the morning. If a person stays in touch with the labour market it should help.

    Having said all that, economic growth is needed to ‘grow’ (horrible modern grammar) the economy, so that there are jobs. The Fib Dem/Tory policies are not doing that, but ED is not spelling out his ideas on this either.

    Meanwhile in prosperous Bournemouth our children are increasingly needing Food Bank help.

    The best of times and the worst of times.

  41. CHRISLANE1945…….We are born into a world of challenge, to survive and thrive, welfare and benefits mitigate against our success, there is no excuse for dependency.

  42. AW………..Thanks for the nudge. :-)

  43. Ken

    I think the problem most people have is the notion that these companies are (ab)using these schemes to circumvent taking on staff and reducing their payroll bill.

    I think the principle of the schemes are good, an engineering graduate getting a placement within a good engineering company will pick up a lot of experience relevant to their career. Someone interested in a political career will take up an unpaid internship which will benefit their career.

    Someone on a work placement to stack shelves will be given the same training and duties as a full time employee and as a temporary agency staff brought in to fill seasonal demands. You’d find it impossible to distinguish the unpaid worker from the paid one. It’s not like they are going to be any less productive for the first two months while they “get up to speed”. The learning curve for stacking shelves is non-existant.

    So there is a place for unpaid work placements when someone without the requisite skills and who would be next to worthless to a company but is willing to learn and pick up the skills needed to begin a career in an industry. They would be taking short term pain to further their long term plans and that is laudable. I don’t see how flipping burgers or stacking shelves fits into the model.

  44. ALAN………..The majority of work placements that I arrange don’t involve shelf stacking, and I have to persuade reluctant employers to take people on, so therefore, efforts are made to accommodate willing participants, but the general consensus is that everyone gains. This isn’t, ‘workfare’ it’s work, people go home having done something useful, it’s just better than sitting watching daytime telly.

  45. @Ken

    You wrote “…We are born into a world of challenge, to survive and thrive, welfare and benefits mitigate against our success, there is no excuse for dependency…”

    * You meant “militate against”, not “mitigate against”.
    * If you meant to say “welfare and benefits reduce the chance of success” then the phrase “welfare and benefits militiate against our success” would be what you wanted.
    * If you meant to say “welfare and benefits reduce the impact of failure” then the phrase “welfare and benefits mitigate our failure” would be what you wanted.

    Regards, Martyn

  46. “My CAPTCHA code is 37DD……oooooher !”

    Bras only come in even sizes. I just thought I’d point that out.

    @Alan.

    If they’re working, they should be paid at least minimum wage. If companies want skilled employees they should train them and not expect them to come fully minted if they expect to be paid. They won’t stop taking on skilled workers. They only get away with this because they’re allowed to and because of the poor job market.

  47. MARTYN……….Thankyou, I stand corrected, but you know what I meant. :-)

  48. HANNAH………..Thank you for that. :-)

  49. MARTYN………Are you a fan of William Faulkner ? He has a favorite error ! :-)

  50. @Hannah

    It’s not often I thank somebody for telling me about bra sizes. But thank you neverthless… :-)

    @Ken

    No, I know very little about William Faulkner. However, I know a considerable amount about pedantry… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

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