Full tables for this week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll are up here, mostly covering the usual variety of subjects.

On disclosure of tax returns, around two thirds of people supported making ministers and senior MPs disclose their tax returns (YouGov asked separately about the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, opposition front bench, etc, but there was virtually no difference between answers). 63% supported making all MPs release their tax returns, and 52% supported making people standing to be MPs release them.

The survey also asked about the Norweigan and Swedish system of making everybody’s tax return public, and found that 51% would support making everyone’s tax return public, with 33% opposed (in practice their systems are now slightly different – they’ve changed the system in Sweden so you need to have a legitimate reason to look at someone’s tax return, but this question was more concerned with the principle of it).

Secondly the survey asked about the changes to tax on charity donations. As one might have expected, people supported the principle of limiting the amount of tax relief that people can claim to reduce their tax liability (by 51% to 16%), but also supported excluding tax relief on charitable donations from this cap (by 60% to 25%).

Most of the rest of the survey dealt with attitudes to the Olympics, with next week marking 100 days to go till they begin. Personally I am in the 29% of people who the poll suggests have no interest in the Olympic games, so I’ll leave you to look at that part yourselves!


91 Responses to “More on this week’s YouGov poll”

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  1. @max – “I don’t think the Unions are evil, I just disagree with them politically, and think they would destroy the economy if they were allowed in charge.”

    Which is precisely why I posted the link. It shows the value of many union members and officials in promoting a healthy UK economy. Without Geoff Waterfield, no steel making and no massive exports from Teeside. Thank you unions.

  2. “I think you’ve got it, and it sounds like you are broadly in agreement with Ed M. ”

    When I woke up this morning I did think I was in agreement with him. He said he had wanted to ban donations from the unions and I agreed. But then he added the caveat that the unions donations collected from their members wouldn’t be capped and the whole thing fell apart.

    If people want to donate to a party then they should donate to that party, not have it channeled through a union, if people get a discount from doing it through the union, then I’m sure the labour party can just offer a cheaper rate if you are also a member of a trade union.

    I agree with a 5k cap on any person donating. And only allow people on the electoral register to donate. No other sort of organisation or corporation.

  3. @Max and others

    It does get boring to have to explain to non-Labour supporters that the Labour Party was created over 100 years ago to provide trade union members (ie workers) with a voice in Parliament that they did not get from privileged Liberals and landed Conservatives. Labour opponents and media barons may not like this, but so what ? The Union connection is integral to the Labour Party – on policy, on funds, on day to-day-issues. The suggestion that Labour should give up their one major advantage over other Parties is rather partisan, and thus out of keeping with this site….I have no problem with the Tories taking funds from large corporate businesses and millionaires as long as it is declared. They represent those interests. That’s life in a capitalist democracy. Why is this controversial?

  4. @Max – why should local conservative associations be allowed to give money to the Tories. If individuals want to donate to the party, they should donate to the party, not have it channeled through and association.

    Unions are essentially self help groups for working people. They may be inconvenient for people with certain political views, and I certainly wouldn’t wish to defend everything unions have ever done, but they have historically been the main drivers of improvements that mean it is now unlikely that you won’t die at work – they have played an immense role in making Britain safer, wealthier and more socially equitable.

    While I would agree that some reforms are required, the fact that they want to organise to gather small donations from individual workers and pass these on to political parties is to be greatly admired. In an age of limited involvement in politics and the political process, this is the kind of thing we should support.

  5. BTW – I did mean to add that if unions wanted to support the Tory party in such a way, Cameron would be holding this forth as a great example of public engagement and a perfectly reasonable way to fund political parties, unlike big personal donations, which he is trying to limit.

  6. @ Ambivalent

    Your approach to the expenses situation is unusual. If my work requires me to be in two places, they pay for me to either stay in hotels or pay for a second home, if it’s long-term.

    For special assignments, if I need consultants to provide information which the corporate legal or finance specialists can’t provide (equivalent to SPADs?), my employer pays for it.

    Ed’s expenses are surely all allowable & entirely reasonable; the Telegraph have likely been through them with a toothcomb.
    8-)

  7. Organisations such as corportations and trade unions, shouldn’t be able to influence politics at all. They don’t get to vote in elections do they? So why are they allowed to donate money. It should be about individual people, donating however much they want. Although I would put a cap on just to stop any Lord Ashcrofts bankrolling the party and outweighing 1000?s of labour supporters with his one big donation to the cons.
    What, and it’s suddenly alright for money to influence politics if donations are done by individuals? There’s clearly massive disparity between the wealth of individuals, so even with a cap you’re still left with the uncomfortable truth that it’d take hundreds of individual donations from working-class people to match one donation from a rich businessman. Makes you remember why unions were formed, yeah?

  8. @Craig

    “What, and it’s suddenly alright for money to influence politics if donations are done by individuals? There’s clearly massive disparity between the wealth of individuals, so even with a cap you’re still left with the uncomfortable truth that it’d take hundreds of individual donations from working-class people to match one donation from a rich businessman. ”

    Did you not read my comment about putting on a cap so wealthy individuals couldn’t do this. I don’t like the fact that the tory party is currently in the pockets of the rich businessmen, I want it to break free, so it can implement true Conservative principles as I know them to be, not just serve the rich as Cameron is doing. The current Conservative party is a b*stardisation of real right wing principles. They’ve allowed the debate to be framed, as poor on the left rich on the right, and that’s not how it should be.

    We need the big money taken out of politics so that big unions and rich businessmen don’t control our 2 main parties anymore.

    That’s why there is such dissatisfaction now. Labour is run by the Unions, Conservatives by the rich, so where are people like me supposed to go? Where is everyone else supposed to go, if you dont like the unions or the rich, where do the ordinary, working and middle class, non unionized folk go?

  9. @Welshie

    “The suggestion that Labour should give up their one major advantage over other Parties is rather partisan, ”

    But did i not also suggest that the tory party should give up their major advantage of having rich business donors as well?

  10. @Max

    You said you agreed with a 5k cap, and I said even that would have the effect of 1 CEO paying 5k being the equivalent of 500 workers paying £10 each ie it goes nowhere near far enough to avoid the problems you talk about – our parties would still be facing the choice between seeking dozens of businessmen’s donations or several thousand ordinary people’s. I can’t imagine what they’d choose…

    I think the unions have very little control over Labour these days – in fact I’d say today’s Labour is more controlled by business.

  11. £5,000 in political funding terms is hardly insurmountable. It’s not enough to win you any real influence, unlike the current £250k fiasco.

    There are so many fewer rich people than ordinary people, that £5,000 from a few would not outweight the £10 you said from the many. Labour would still have more funding than the Conservatives, and I’m fine with that as you do have more donors.

  12. @Anthony W

    Having read of all the techie problems, I have to report that I have had none whatever (running Firefox 11.0 on Windows 7). Is this due to my setup, or pure serendipity?

  13. I had some brief problems (unable to see some posts and comments) the other day, on Mac Safari

  14. @WELSH BORDERER

    “The suggestion that Labour should give up their one major advantage over other Parties is rather partisan, and thus out of keeping with this site….I have no problem with the Tories taking funds from large corporate businesses and millionaires as long as it is declared. They represent those interests. That’s life in a capitalist democracy. Why is this controversial?”

    It seems only Ed Miliband can answer that. His suggestion to load the game to his own advantage is obvious to all, and is more than a little desperate. I suppose he’s trying to appeal to the unions.

    In this modern age, should the main political parties be unduly influenced by big business or groups who might hold the country to ransome?

    Whoever said that doing away with politcal parties was silly?

  15. “EXCL: The Lib Dems will be all but wiped out in 2015 election with just 7 MPs surviving on current popularity level, YouGov poll reveals.
    …Clegg, Huhne, Cable, Alexander will all lose seats. Targeted poll in LD areas post boundary changes. Full details in tmrw’s Sun.”
    From Sun Politics

    Don’t know if anybody missed some sort of actual polling news in all this political donations chat.

  16. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4259067/Poll-Lib-Dem-big-guns-face-boot-as-MPs-in-meltdown-at-election.html
    And a link to the actual story. Since I missed the tweet somehow.
    Headline VI (76 seats where the LibDems are strong) –
    Con – 28 (-4)
    Lab – 31 (+12)
    Lib – 24 (-17)
    Lab & Con basically neck and neck.

    UNS (new boundaries) predicts Cons taking 21 of the seats, Labour will take 18.

    It’ll be interesting to see the actual figures when they’re released by yougov.

  17. Thanks for that news.

    “On a uniform swing, the Conservatives would take 21 of their seats and Labour will land 18.”

    I don’t think for one minute that the swing will be uniform… these figures only make sense to me if Labour is taking the LD seats in Scotland. My guess is that Con:Lab will take LD seats in more like a ratio of 2:1 (where Lab is picking up 5 Con marginal seats). It will be an interesting poll to look at though.

    “Energy Secretary Ed Davey is the only Lib Dem Cabinet minister who would survive the chop.”

    Yes, he looks like a good bet to be next LD leader, unless Tim Farron attempts a last ditch coup to save the party (and break the coalition).

  18. I looked last week and UK Independance party were neck and neck with Lib Dems on some polls why not mentioned on UGOV?

  19. Back to work today after the Easter break and two depressing little snippets of economic news to greet my return to the world of manufacturing: –

    “Bank lending to the manufacturing sector has slumped 33% from £33 billion in September 2008, before the credit crunch, to £22 billion in January 2012, piling more pressure on independent funders to prop up UK manufacturers, according to an independent finance provider.”

    and….

    “The Index of Manufacturing from the Office for National Statistics showed a fall of 1.4% in February 2012 compared with February 2011. The month on month figure also fell by 1.0 % between January 2012 and February 2012.”

    Add to this the recent dire balance of payments figures and it would appear that the march of the makers has stalled somewhat. Poor retail sales too in February and recent stock market falls have wiped millions off the value of savings and pension funds.

    Is there a Plan B out there anywhere?

  20. I have to admit to being a little smug with myself over this donations tax plan fiasco. I did pick this up early on and suggested it would be a major issue, although I didn’t suggest it would shift VI much. I’m cautiously reviewing this now, as the story has been pushed much harder than I initially thought and the government is taking a complete pasting for it.

    We would expect Labour to pile in anyway, but we’ve had Lib Dems beig highly critial – even ministers, and Tory MPs themselves are savaging Osborne over this – Zac Goldsmith’s contribution yesterday was withering. Apart from the world of politics, Osborne now has some extremely popular and powerful charitable institutions lined up against him, as well as a string of wealthy and influential individuals who he has basically publically accused of tax avoidance. It’s a complete mess. It’s a remarkable achievement to gather such unanimous opprobrium from all sections of the political spectrum as as well as from those who depend on charities alongside multimillionaires. A strategic genious couldn’t have planned a more effective coup.

    This morning the Treasury has apparently fought back with figures from millionaires showing how many of them pay a low overall rate of tax, as justification for the measures on donations relief. I think they, and Osborne are completely missing the obvious point here.

    When a company or an individual pays a donation to a registered charity, the Gift Aid/tax allowance element has always been on the basis that the donation effectively means the person hasn’t actually earned this money – they are giving it away to a good cause, so why should earnings related taxes apply to earnings you are effectively foregoing.

    Where the Treasuries figures really fall down is on this point. To calculate effective tax rates for the wealthy, they should subtract the donations from the earnings first, and calculate the tax proportion on the balance left.

    As Zac Goldsmith says, if he continues with this nonsense, Osborne will be remembered as the man who destroyed the charitable sector. What price the Big Society now.

  21. The economic news is bad…and seems to conflict with previous optimistic noises.

    Is that first quarter going to be bad, GDP-wise?

  22. @TingeFringe

    On the bright side, both the percentage who think the LibDems have been a “sensible party of Government” and those who think they haven’t sold out their principles are above their raw polling number (25% and 31% respectively).

    @Billy Bob

    Yup, it’s highly unlikely that the UNS will be in play. But there are still likely to be significant casualties, as there are in any party meltdown, and some of them may be worse than this suggests if there is active targeting of key figures (remember Portillo 97?).

  23. @ Tingedfringe.

    I’m not sure how the supposed total meltdown in Lib Dem support across the country squares with the fact that so far this year we have got 27% of the vote in local government by-elections. I know AW will not like this, but it all hinges on what question you ask and I believe the difference between asking people how they would vote locally versus asking them generally how they would vote in a general election is significant.

    In any case, I seem to remember people making similar projections back in 2007 when we polled 12% according to Yougov. Supposedly the Tories under Cameron were going to wipe the floor with us. We all saw what happened three years later.

  24. @NIckp “The economic news is bad”

    Oh well, it’s about time Labout got some good news. They’ve been having a tough time for a while now, this will lighten their spirits I’m sure. :)

  25. @The Sheep

    For “active targeting” read “active scapegoating”.

    We shall see. It all depends on the economy. Governments suffer mid-term. The Liberal Democrats also suffer mid-term, because they don’t get a fair crack at the media whip and aren’t out putting their own message across.

    So being a Lib Dem in government is doubly difficult.

  26. @Crossbat11

    What out of any of that has anything to do with the government’s fiscal policy. It’s all about the external climate. How can you make exports grow when external demand is falling?

    And surely you’re not blaming the Coalition government for the condition the banking sector was in in 2008?

  27. max

    not sure what you saying?

    economic bad news is bad news surely? In the end it would be bad news for an incoming Government too.

  28. @NickP “max
    not sure what you saying?
    economic bad news is bad news surely? In the end it would be bad news for an incoming Government too.”

    It’s a well known fact that opposition parties do better when the economic news in grim. Conservative VI went to it’s highest levels in the last parliament in 2008 during the recession and lingered on into 2009.

    More bad economic news for the coalition will no doubt hit the coalitoon parties and see Labour’s VI rise. Just like if we got that double dip. Although it’s bad for the country, Labour would be dancing in the streets as it would mean the coalition policy was seen as less credible in the eyes of the public.

    And yes I am cynical enough to believe that both of the 2 main parties delight in the others pain, even if it affects the country as a whole.

  29. The economic data is not great. I could be wrong, but I thought we had much better Markit PMI (predictive) data for this sector in February than these actual performamce numbers suggest. I know Markit came out with strong numbers for the service sector. but I thought manufacturing showed well also. I haven’t got time to check these, but if actual peformance looking back is much worse than the PMI survey data then that isn’t good.

    Much more alarming is the Spanish situation. Bond rates now over 6% and the Euro sliding. Apart from stuffing the UK export strategy, if Spanish rates stay above 6% for long, it’s bail out time, and as everyone has always said, Spain is too big to bail.

  30. @Alec

    “Much more alarming is the Spanish situation. Bond rates now over 6% and the Euro sliding. Apart from stuffing the UK export strategy,”

    This is why we need to refocus our trade not on Europe, but with the developing world, which I think Cameron is doing, hence his visit to Indonesia this week, as well as previous visits to India and Turkey.

    India, Canada and Australia are all doing really well, and are in our commonwealth, why aren’t we doing more with them? Leave the bureaucratic mess that is the EU behind. Still trade obviously, but don’t rely on it.

    “if Spanish rates stay above 6% for long, it’s bail out time, and as everyone has always said, Spain is too big to bail.”

    Indeed, I seem to remember when reporting the poltiical deminse of Berlusconi reporters saying the magic number is 7% and that when rates go above this, that is when the doom is really signalled and a bailout is needed, or some other drastic action like changing government to get the rate down.

  31. @MAX
    “And yes I am cynical enough to believe that both of the 2 main parties delight in the others pain, even if it affects the country as a whole.”
    That is exactly what I think is the problem with our electoral system. At any given time it is in the interests of a large part of the elected parties to oppose, criticise, and see things go wrong. I instinctively prefer a proportionally elected multi-party system in which it is in the interests of most/all parties to work together in coalition. Sadly the way this has been put into practice by the LDs makes me dispair.

  32. @ Anthony Wells.

    “I am in the 29% of people who are uninterested in the Olympics!”

    Give it some time … opinions can change. Just wait for the opening ceremony, the Zeitgeist, the festival atmosphere ….

  33. Olympics?

    The biggest non-event of the last week, month etc that has got the media in fits of ecstasy is Titanic anniversary. What the f**k !

    Jubilee, the European footie champs, and the Olympics ! Oh good grief. total media overload ahead.

    Throw in one or two military/naval ventures somewhere around the globe and we’ll all be raving lunatic jingoistic nutters come September.

    AW – how about imposing a ban on any mention of the Olympics, Jubilee and Euro footie from now until late August? Please!

  34. ‘Organisations such as corportations and trade unions, shouldn’t be able to influence politics at all.’

    That’s an amazing statement that attacks democracy itself.

    I agree that corporations should not have equivalent rights to people, but you go too far in saying that people are the same as corporations and should be banned from funding their own party in the way they choose, democratically.

    Trade unions are voluntary and democratic organisations. If you ban them from politics what exactly remains of democracy?

    As for the conservatives, when I was a youngster starting out in politics they had nearly one million individual members. Since then they have let their membership collapse and become dependent on corporate and large individual donations.

    It seems obvious to me that they should try to become a mass membership organisation again, and stop attacking democratic systems of funding in the Labour party, simply to do down their opponents.

    Why can’t they set up affilated and democratic organisations that fund their own party? No one would object to that.

  35. “I agree that corporations should not have equivalent rights to people, but you go too far in saying that people are the same as corporations.”

    WTF I never said anything of the sort, you’re purely making stuff up now.

    ” and should be banned from funding their own party in the way they choose, democratically.”

    Asking them to send the money directly to the Labour party, instead of channeling it through a union is hardly a cross to bear.

    “Trade unions are voluntary and democratic organisations. If you ban them from politics what exactly remains of democracy?”

    Did I say ban them? NO!, I just said don’t allow them to donate, they’re already not allowed to vote in elections, so don’t let them donate either. We need to take the big money and influence out of politics.

    You could still have red len saying to his members vote labour and supporting Labour, red len himself would even be able to donate upto £5,000 of his own money as would every single one of his trade union members.

  36. Max King

    ‘If people want to donate to a party then they should donate to that party, not have it channeled through a union, if people get a discount from doing it through the union, then I’m sure the labour party can just offer a cheaper rate if you are also a member of a trade union’

    Another extraordinary statement. If people want to join a union and vote for a political fund they have every right to do so. Many trade unions are organic parts of the Labour party, yet you insist on presenting them as some outside body with undue influence over the party. They, and their members, are the party.

    So why are you so keen to target the unions funding mechanism for reform? What right has anyone to interfere in the democratic processes of unions? Surely, in a democracy, so long as they are breaking no laws, they should be able to operate in any way they like, including opt-ins and opt-outs,. The members decide that in democratic votes at conferences, and all members are balloted on retaining the political fund. So to suggest that union members are unaware of their contibutions is simply not true in the vast majority of cases.

    You are really saying you want to abolish the Labour party in its current form, but say little about the obvious abuses of party funding that affects all parties.

    Please concentrate on the problems : corporate and large individual donations that corrupt policy decisions. At present you seem to be using that as an excuse to attack the most democratic and widespread funding we have in the country.

    In reality all parties should operate like Labour does with its union funding.

  37. “Another extraordinary statement. If people want to join a union and vote for a political fund they have every right to do so. ”

    But then similarly, large business and rich donors also have a right to donate huge sums, and we are back to square 1 with this problem of big funding and influence over our 2 main parties.

    “Many trade unions are organic parts of the Labour party, yet you insist on presenting them as some outside body with undue influence over the party. They, and their members, are the party.”

    Labour grew out of the trade union movement, and it has strong links with the unions, but that doesn’t mean that becoming a trade union member automatically makes you a Labour member. They are an outside body with undue influence over the party.

  38. “So why are you so keen to target the unions funding mechanism for reform? What right has anyone to interfere in the democratic processes of unions? Surely, in a democracy, so long as they are breaking no laws, they should be able to operate in any way they like, including opt-ins and opt-outs,. ”

    Again the same argument can be applied for big business and rich businessmen. I’m not targeting solely unions, I’m targeting any organisation of any colour that buys influence in our political parties.
    “You are really saying you want to abolish the Labour party in its current form,”

    Yes I am, and that goes for the conservatives too, I want Union money taken away from Lab and big business money taken away from con, so they can represent the interests of the people not the people who bankroll their party.

  39. For some reason I can’t publish my whole comment as it comes under moderation and I cant for the life of me figure out which phrase is causing it to go under moderation.

  40. ““but say little about the obvious abuses of party funding that affects all parties.”

    And that’s where you step into being factually inaccurate again, I am repeatedly saying we need to remove it from all parties, it is you choosing to focus on the union part as it is your party that would lose out were they to give up union funding.

    You want the tories to give up their big funders, without giving up the big funders of your own. I say get rid of both. Allow individual people to contribute to whatever party they wish, and place a cap so the very rich and wealthy can’t donate ridiculously huge sums anymore.

  41. @Max OTFCOK

    You said “…India, Canada and Australia are all doing really well, and are in our commonwealth, why aren’t we doing more with them?…”

    The UK’s membership of the EU neither inhibits nor promotes trade with India/Canada/Australia. The limiting factors with trade with them are distance and unfamiliarity with local demand – to sell stuff to India you have to know what is in demand in India and then get it to them cheaper than they can make locally, which isn’t easy (labour costs are less and cultural unfamiliarity makes it difficult to realise quickly what is required).

    Incidentally, India has turned into a world leader in call centres, medical tourism, outsourced computing and is a renowned exporter of skilled individuals: all things involving things that are cheap (people) or very cheap (data) to transport intercontinentally.

    You then said “…Leave the bureaucratic mess that is the EU behind. Still trade obviously, but don’t rely on it…”

    There is a very strong case for refocussing trade on growth countries, but membership of the EU does not preclude that. Ironically, the bureaucracy in question is meant to enable free-trade, by preventing internal borders (differentials between countries) and enforcing standardisation – so country X can’t prevent country Y from selling it fire blankets by saying “we have our own fire regs and only we know how to meet them, ho ho”

    Of course, what would be handy is an organisation that negotiated en-masse with other countries, enabling European countries to apply their full force as a group and so negotiate better free-trade terms than they could get individually. Hmm, I wonder where we could find such an organisation… :-) ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_free_trade_agreements )

    Regards, Martyn

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