Full results for YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll are now up here, mostly concentrating on next week’s budget and Britain’s relationship with the USA. On the regular leadership trackers David Cameron’s approval rating is at minus 5 (up from minus 9 last week), Miliband’s at minus 45 (from minus 38), Clegg’s at minus 46 (from minus 44).

Looking at the budget questions, even when we prompt people to consider that rises in the personal tax allowance need to be paid for through tax increases, cuts or borrowing elsewhere there is still strong support for it. Only 18% think it should remain at the current level, 16% would support an increase to £9000, 34% to the Liberal Democrat’s proposed £10,000 and 20% higher than that.

On the 50p income tax rate, only 27% support it being abolished in this budget with 60% opposed. Amongst Conservative supporters the split is very even, 45% support, 46% oppose. Labour and Liberal Democrat voters are heavily against. Opposition for it being abolished is not much less to a pledge to abolish it in a later budget – 52% would oppose this, with 29% in support.

Unsurprisingly the overwhelming majority of people (77%) would support a decrease in the level of fuel duty. There is still a substantial majority in favour when YouGov asked people to balance the competing priorities of cutting the deficit or cutting fuel duty – 59% think it is more important to cut fuel duty compared to 20% who think it is more important to cut the deficit. Opinion on the higher rate of tax relief on pension contributions (even split) and the abolition of child benefit for higher rate taxpayers (majority support) remain the same.

Turning to the USA and the special relationship, 54% think the relationship between the US & UK is very or fairly close. 20% think it should be closer, 21% weaker and 49% think it is about right. Perceptions are now that the relationship has got a little closer since David Cameron became Prime Minister – 26% think it has got closer, 13% less close and 54% no difference. This is significantly better than when YouGov asked the same question in 2010, when the figures were 15% and 20% respectively.

People still, however, don’t think we have much influence over the USA – only 11% think we have a lot or some influence, 44% think we have not a lot of influence, 39% think we have no influence at all, not much changed from 2010. On the specifics of David Cameron’s trip to the USA, 28% think the reception was over the top, but 46% think it got the balance about right.

105 Responses to “This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. I don’t think sell-offs move opinions either way by very much. Maybe there are no limits to what assets can be turned into cash. I am reminded of this extract from The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist :-

    Chapter 15: The Undeserving Persons and the Upper and Nether Millstones :-

    “If it were possible to construct huge gasometers and to draw together and compress within them the whole of the atmosphere, it would have been done long ago, and we should have been compelled to work for them in order to get money to buy air to breathe. And if that seemingly impossible thing were accomplished tomorrow, you would see thousands of people dying for want of air – or of the money to buy it – even as now thousands are dying for want of the other necessities of life. You would see people going about gasping for breath, and telling each other that the likes of them could not expect to have air to breathe unless the had the money to pay for it.”

  2. Apparently they are not going to sell existing roads, the scheme would be for new roads & upgrades.

    Really, I think that things are announced, or spun, so that people use up all their anger/ passion/ arguments on false points; these falsities are then demolished & even though the core policy may still be flawed, it slides past because people’s interest & energy have been used up already.

  3. Amber
    I think the government are saying existing roads won’t have charges. Tolls will come in to it.

  4. @Amber Star – “Has the campaigning started in your neck of the woods?”

    I should say about one leaflet/knock on the door from either Labour or Lib Dem every week for nearly two months (the failed LD parliamentary candidate is trying for a seat on the borough council). The longer this goes on I do wonder that the Tories are silent – no search on the web even reveals the existence of a candidate.

  5. @ Barney

    Yes, there are conflicting reports in the same media!

    One section says:
    If the road companies met the targets they would receive a proportion of the vehicle excise duty, which currently all goes to the Treasury. This would be seen as a particularly radical step because it would be a form of hypothecation – allowing a stream of revenue to be directed at a particular project. The Treasury normally resists this because it likes to keep control of prioritising spending across government.

    Another section says:
    There will be no tolls on the existing road network. But if the road companies create new capacity – by adding lanes to existing roads or building new roads altogether – then they would be entitled to charge for their use.
    This is actually a really good example of policies being announced which aren’t clear on the details. Will this PPFI be paid for from road taxes or tolls or both? I expect it will depend on which causes the least outrage from voters…

  6. @ Billy Bob

    Interesting… maybe the Tories think they should wait until after the budget & reap the ‘benefit’ of the cut in the 50p rate. Do you have many millionaires living in your ward? ;-)

  7. @Syzygy and @Alec
    Yes, the LDs are going to be walloped over the NHS. Some of them are timidly asking whether Con will give them a free ride in winnable wards in May – don’t see it myself. PT took SW’s arguments apart with such ease it was frankly embarrassing. If Lab repeal the bill (if they win in 2015), what could be salvaged?

    But more to the point, if the govt is legislating at breakneck speed on things they didn’t even mention in either manifesto, it makes me wonder what the strategy is. I would have thought that Con – for only they can hope for an OM – would be trying to attract *more* voters. Seeing as they are stuck at or just over their 2010 result, and that a good number of major govt policies could be described as divisive – indeed retoxifying the Con brand – I don’t see where the extra 3-4 points are coming from. GO as strategic genius is only believed by the media – on Con Home and the DT there is plenty of invective against his failure to win an OM in 2010 and terror that they have blown their best chance.

  8. His ‘strategic genius’ reputation came from the inheritance tax wheeze back in 2008.

    It actually highlighted how far Labour had fallen rather than any genius from GO.

  9. More and more it looks like slash and burn. Cameron read Blair’s book and the bit where Blair says he should have reformed more and bolder straight away.

    Change the landscape, get rid of the public sector, especially the BBC, Royal Mail, NHS and the northern enclaves of DWP etc and if (when?) they get kicked out barring a mass renationalising programme which I can’t see happening, we are effectively living in neo-liberal Uk rebuilt in the image of USA. Too late to stop it now, I think.

  10. @Amber Star – “Do you have many millionaires living in your ward?”

    Not many – in fact we are well into the top 10% nationally for multiple deprivation. My guess (in terms of absolute population) is that the South East/London has as many people in that category as elsewhere – they just get swamped statistically by some relatively large pockets of serious affluence.

  11. One of the things I have noticed on other forums that the posters who are now the leading proponents of the Coalition were also the ones that were cheerleading the New Labour policies of Blair post 2003 and decrying any attempts at suggesting that we were in a potential bubble coming from (in my case) the left.

    These same people are the ones who now have done a volte-face and are now the ones who love the Coalition and spend all the time saying it was Labour’s fault.

    If we look at the things that us of the leftish persuasion disliked about the Blairite years (PFI, deregulation, Iraq, civil liberties abuse etc) were also supported at the time by the right.

    If we remember the Tories were as enthusiastic for all the policies as Labour and any later opposition was, to my mind, opportunism. This includes civil liberties – apart from ID cards (remember originally a Major idea so even that is dubious) I would expect the Tories have to reacted to events in exactly the same way if not even tougher.

    The LD were probably the only ones consistently warning of the risks involved with these neolib policies but now they seem to have been seduced by power. You could say that the LD have fallen foul as the same problems as Labour did in that the intentions were good but the enacting is difficult.

    Is this because the intentions were wrong or that the actual power doesn’t lie with the Government anymore which is why we see that in practice all three parties have the same philosophy?

  12. Cameron has just announced that the government will commission a report into the merits of privatising the ‘air that we breathe’. This is part of the Conservatives ‘blue sky’ thinking,

    Following on from the announcement to privatise Britains road network, the contracting out of services related to ‘air quality’ are being considered.

    This is not true by the way, but if you think about it, there is not much in the way of public services that you could not privatise. Why not privatise the whole of the civil service into many different companies, with all the relevant legal and accountability measures put into place ?

    It will interesting what the electorate think about the road privitisation in polling and I think it would be a good idea for YG to ask people about what their views are on privatisation in general. Perhaps provide a list of various public services and ask whether they would prefer public or private ownership or don’t care.

  13. bazsc @ Colin

    “Mind you I am in perpetual premed over there…..”

    Keep taking the pills as long as you can even if you have trouble paying for them.

    When I was litle, my mummy used to say “You’ve go to do what the doctor ordered”, still good advice for LibDems.

  14. John B Dick


    This autocorrect in a nightmare sometimes!

  15. R Huckle – “Perhaps provide a list of various public services and ask whether they would prefer public or private ownership or don’t care.”

    Here goes…

  16. Amber Star @ Green Christian & Alan.

    “The Greens….. are in favour of independence, I think ”

    Trident. Scottish Voting Compass rates them further to the left of SNP who are much further to the left than Labour.

    “& now they’ve gone & joined the personality cults which they used to eschew.”

    The leader has,or would like it to be so, but I’m not clear whether they have enough members for the Authoritarian Followers among them to become a functional cult.

  17. @ R Huckle

    “….there is not much in the way of public services that you could not privatise. ….I think it would be a good idea for YG to ask people about what their views are on privatisation in general. Perhaps provide a list of various public services and ask whether they would prefer public or private ownership or don’t care.”

    One which would actually bring in new money eliminating current expense is privatising the monarchy on three year contracts.

    Of course it could only be for England or else much of the Commonwealth would want their share, and Scottish republlcans would be finished as Scots out of perversity, would want to differentiate by keeping the current set up with it’s ethos of public service.

  18. Amber Star @ Syzygy

    I understand that future governments wishing to reverse the long term contracts signed with foreign providers would be subject to WTO arbitration .. incuring heavy penalties for breaking the agreements.

    Could the Scottish NHS (with/without independence) contract for management of Hospitals in England as “any willing provider”.

    If they did, could they collude with a futute Labour government to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

  19. Interesting to hear that The ta Payers Alliance have formerley reported Ken Livingstone to HMRC over tax irregularities. I wonder how that will play in the coming Mayoral election in London?

  20. The Other Howard

    This tax question is a fair discussion point but I do not think that using the fact that the Taxpayer’s Alliance does much for the argument – not exactly non-partisan


  21. ” …no tolls on the existing road network.”

    Once a road has been modified or upgraded in some way (turning the hard shoulder into a carriageway perhaps) then a toll can be slapped on?

    This will lead to shorter journeys for some – but alternative routes on minor roads through residential areas, towns and villiages will become a nightmare for the rest.

  22. @ John B Dick

    I’ll keep your question in mind when I’m looking at the WTO stuff.

    I don’t think that the WTO would have any ‘interest’ either way, in one UK health authority providing services to another. That isn’t considered ‘World Trade’ & is outside their scope.

    I’ll need to read more with the current UK position in mind but my present understanding is: If Wales, Scotland & NI are all entirely run for the public by the public sector then that would be a very big plus for a Labour administration which was seeking to establish that the UK NHS is a public utility & therefore not subject to WTO ‘governance’ despite the English NHS Bill.

    Of course, others will have a different opinion. And as it’s never been tested, we are all speculating.

    Independence would change the situation & I’ll try to get an answer to that too – but I think it won’t be straightforward.

  23. @ The Other Howard

    Interesting to hear that The ta Payers Alliance have formerley reported Ken Livingstone to HMRC over tax irregularities. I wonder how that will play in the coming Mayoral election in London?
    Very well for Ken, I’d imagine when HMRC either refuse to launch an investigation or have to turn it around quickly & give him the all clear. Anything less than a clear answer before the election would amount to HMRC meddling in politics – which is something which they should avoid.

  24. Amberstar

    One could also think that anyone wanting to scupper a policy might attempt to exaggerate and mislead what the policy entails before the actual details of the policy can get through to the public in the hope to kill it off before it arrives.

    I doubt it’s coalition policy to try and bait people opposed to their policies into jumping the gun and looking foolish. They seem perfectly capable of doing that on their own!

  25. He makes me laugh, does Charlie Booker. Today he gets stuck into the NHS reforms, here’s a snippet:

    I spent a fair bit of time last week visiting someone laid up in hospital. Every bed on the ward had a flat-screen TV beside it – a commercial entertainment system upon which you can watch TV or endure movies such as Captain America or Transformers: Dark of the Moon. There was a constant looping advert for these and other delights, interspersed by the now-notorious talking head shot of Lansley dribbling on about how your health is really important to him. He says he hopes this entertainment system will make your stay more enjoyable. And it will, if you pay for it.

    If you pick up the remote and select good old vanilla BBC1, you only get to glimpse a few seconds of BBC1 before it displays a screen telling you to cough up. If the company responsible for the system genuinely wanted to make everyone’s stay more comfortable, they’d let you have the BBC for nothing. Chances are you pay your licence fee. They could give you the Beeb and then charge extra for the movie channels. Seems reasonable. But no. Cough up, fleshbag.

    On the back of the screen is a sticker telling you to switch your mobile phone off. But fear not: the screen has a phone attached to it, which your distressed relatives can use to get in touch with you. It’s a premium rate number. So cough up again, fleshbag.

    The screens are switched on by default, so I assume, incidentally, that the company responsible covers the cost of all that electricity. Otherwise, you’re indirectly coughing up for it already, fleshbag.

  26. Just spotted this about a former frequent poster to UKPR, on the Guardian site:

    “11.03am: The indefatigable Éoin Clarke over at The Green Benches has been a persistent critic of the reforms – and has devised a neat bit of software to email the Bishops to get them to vote against the health bill this afternoon. He writes:

    ‘Forget your views on religion for a moment please. I suspect many of you take umbrage to the fact that we have bishops in a lawmaking chamber of our state, but the simple fact is we do. Their votes on the future of the NHS will be crucial in Monday’s vote. If all of the bishops voted with Lord Owen’s amendment to publish the NHS risk register, then there is every chance that the motion will succeed. In many ways the bishops hold the key. ‘

    You can email God and his emissaries using the blog here.”

  27. On BBC News24 Simon Hughes defended the refusal to publish the Risk Register on the basis that ‘The Bill’ has been changed in many ways, therefore somehow the Risk Register is less relevant. He just about managed to keep a straight face when he said it. I forget now who promised us “more transparency”.
    I am away to a darkened room to lie down for a while.

  28. @TheOtherHoward

    “Interesting to hear that The ta Payers Alliance have formerley reported Ken Livingstone to HMRC over tax irregularities. I wonder how that will play in the coming Mayoral election in London?”

    Isn’t that a bit like UK Uncut reporting Boris Johnson to the Child Support Agency for his services to errant fatherhood?

    Can’t see it getting very far, can you?

  29. On the subject of Taxpayers’ Alliance, I hate the way they are rolled in front of the cameras as though they were a sort of Consumer Protection organisation like Which or something.

    Why doesn’t it ever get explained that they are a right wing state hating pressure group rather than any independent look at how taxes are spent?

  30. NickP

    The same way that every left wing business hating pressure group isn’t introduced as such.

  31. Alan

    Go on then, name that left-wing pressure group that is portrayed, as NickP states, an independent non-partisan pressure group.

    If you look at my link above you will see that the TPA is a front for the Tory right and UKIP.

    Despite, this they are continually used – not as if it happened once and there was a mistake

  32. Blimey-Red Flag day today on UKPR !

  33. BAZSC

    It’s not like they keep it a secret that they oppose the government wasting money in the public sector.

    If you want a comparison, it isn’t explicitly stated whether a trade union is affiliated to labour when they are interviewed, although it’s often clear when they are there to try and score political points for their party.

    The taxpayers alliance are a pressure group and have never represented themselves otherwise.

    When they did a FOI request to find out how much the fig trees in portcullis house were costing us, was that just a really well veiled political attack on labour?

    If you really want me to pull a name out of a hat for a left wing pressure group I could suggest Compass.

  34. COLIN………I too sneak a glimpse from time to time, but having scanned today’s posts I ‘m too terrified to comment, I can almost hear the clogs on the cobbles and the tumbrils creaking on their way. :-)

  35. @Ken @Colin

    I look at it all the time, they speak my language!!!

  36. Alan

    Come off it – the trade unions are presented as what they are

    I am sure the bulk of the country has no idea who this guys are

  37. THE OTHER HOWARD……..The language of angry exclamation marks……… try a nice smiley, I know it’s hard, but it can help to mitigate the anger of the Left, don’t you lot get tired of being miserable ? :-)

  38. New ICM/Guardian poll puts Tories back in the lead.

    CON 39% LAB 36% LD15%

  39. Guardian /ICM poll:

    The Conservatives have retaken the lead in the polls as George Osborne prepares for his budget on Wednesday, but the chancellor risks being at odds with public opinion on tax, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll.

    There was strong support from respondents of all political parties in favour of measures to increase the tax take from wealthy people.

    The Tories are up three percentage points since February, from 36% to 39%. Labour is three behind, on 36%, down one from 37% last month. The Liberal Democrats inch back up one to 15%, while the combined total of the smaller parties has slipped back three points, to stand at 10%.</i?

  40. LEETAY / NICKP………….Now there’s a surprise, and a very pleasant one at that. :-) :-)

  41. @BAZSC

    IPPR springs to mind.

  42. @The Other Howard
    “Interesting to hear that The ta Payers Alliance have formerley reported Ken Livingstone to HMRC over tax irregularities.”

    That makes it sounds ever so official and grave. Does formally/formerley mean that it’s submitted in triplicate on Form B7/4 as opposed to the back of fag packet?

    But anyway it’s all b*****ks, according to an accountant advising “Liberal Conspiracy”:

    (Here’s an indirect link, the direct one appears to have fallen foul of the moderatorbot)


    “a) There is no possible way Gilligan can say that 238k was “funnelled” through Silveta, because this figure is simply the end of FY asset figure, and no indication of income/expenditure. I.e. there could have been a very small income if most of this is made up of fixed assets, or there could be massive income matched by massive expenditure, but this wouldn’t be reflected in the balance sheet.

    b) It’s perfectly reasonable to use a firm for this type of operation, rather than simply submit all accounts as a sole trader, just as many thousands of people do, not least because he’s employing people. Where it’s dodgy is where it’s one person essentially working for one organisation in an employment relationship, but pretending to be self-employed, as was the case recently with that geezer from the Student Loans Company, who was being paid through a company for doing a job that should have been subject to PAYE.

    c) In particular, if he HAD NOT set up a firm, and simply allowed his “staff” to invoice him for their services, he’d have been effectively assisting THEM to avoid tax because they’d then declare as self-employed (and reduce their tax through declaring expenses) in spite of having only one person who pays them regularly, and are therefore de facto employees in the eyes of HMRC. Although Ken could have still paid them as employees if he’d been a sole trader.

    d) Being a company doesn’t necessarily offer more protection to employees, but it is generally good to have a separation between an individual and the activities he/she carries out for business.

    Having a company means you have to have some sort of governance – being regulated by the Companies Act and having to declare dividends, rather than taking money out willy nilly. Actually it’s far more transparent and above board than being a sole trader because it’s more tightly regulated.

    e) It’s utterly ludicrous for Gilligan to accuse Livingstone of tax avoidance when Ken is i) simply doing this right; ii) there is no evidence that he’s actually paying less tax overall anyway. The simple 50%/20% differentiation offered by Gilligan, and the sums based on a purported income of 228k, take no account of the real expenditure on staffing presumably incurred (with tax then properly paid by the staff).

    All we know is that the company made a surplus in the year of £45,932. That could have been on a turnover of £100k or £1m – we don’t know. There’s absolutely no grounds to conclude he’s paying less tax.”

  43. KEN

    @” don’t you lot get tired of being miserable ? ”

    I really think they don’t.

    It’s what they get out of bed in the morning for

    Looking forward to a cracker of a budget from George on Wednesday,and the ensuing miseryfest.

    :-) :-)

  44. @Leetay/@Nick P

    Brought to you by the polling company that bases its headline figures on what it thinks people will do, based on what they did two years ago applied to assumptions arrived at many years before that, even when they say that they’ll do something different now.

    And a poll which will no doubt bound to be mentioned on tomorrow’s broadcast news, in contrast to all of the other polls surfacing here over the past two weeks which pointed consistently in the other direction.

  45. @”New ICM/Guardian poll puts Tories back in the lead.
    CON 39% LAB 36% LD15%”

    Well I’ll be doggone

    NHS Bill ? :-)

  46. I suspect the issue of councillors using service companies to shelter tax may be a lot miore widespread than anyone knows. As for Livingstone he’s never made any secret of his lavish lifestyle. Where he gets it from is probably more interesting than any tax avoidance. It’s not as though being the Mayor of London means anything.

  47. PHIL…………You conveniently forgot the bit about Ken accusing others of dubious practice, and then doing exactly the same thing himself………double standards from a past master of dubious practice. :-)

  48. COLIN…………..I thought that Cammo’s US trip would pay dividends, perhaps ICM, who incidentally, has now become the,’ Gold Standard ‘ might have picked this up in polling. :-)

  49. @Ken
    Although I can be a forgetful chap, in this case I was quoting someone else in full. But if you read it, the quote is an explanation of why Ken’s approach of forming a company given his employment of staff is good practice, rather than the bad practice adopted by sole traders seeking to avoid PAYE.

  50. KEN

    I thought it came over well for him too-but didn’t really think there was any VI plus in it.

    Maybe your right……..Son of Veto ….that will depress them in their bunkers .


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