This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here. Topline figures are CON 29%, LAB 41%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 12%.

Economy

The economic trackers are as bad as usual for the government – people think the government are managing the economy badly by 65% to 25%, 67% think George Osborne is doing a bad job as Chancellor, only 11% of people expect their economic situation to get better in the next twelve months. Asked if the government’s economic strategy is working only 7% think it is, 36% think it isn’t but will in the fullness of time, 45% think it is unlikely to ever work. Take note of these figures – they are the background to this week’s budget and we’ll see next week if it has a positive or negative effect (in recent years budgets have had negative effects far more often than positive ones).

On the budget itself YouGov asked people what they wanted to see happen to spending and taxes in the budget – and how it would be paid for (otherwise everyone tends to say they’d like more spending and less taxes). 32% of people (mostly Conservaitves) said they wanted to see spending cut more, 25% (mostly Labour) that they wanted to see spending cut less, 25% that cuts should stay at about their current level. People were similarly divided on taxes – 24% wanted to see tax cuts, 22% tax rises, 38% that taxes should stay at their current level.

These should all be seen in the context of the more regular YouGov polling on cuts that does show that people dislike the spending cuts – they consistently say they are bad for the economy, too fast and being done unfairly. However they are also consistent in saying that they think they are necessary, which proably explains why people answered this week’s poll as they did.

The survey also asked about ringfencing spending on various areas after Liam Fox’s call for NHS spending not to be protected. His stance was, unsurprisingly, not widely popular! 74% think it is right for NHS spending to be protected, 18% think it is wrong. There is also widespread (67%) support for protecting spending on education, but 76% are opposed to protecting spending on international aid.

Leveson

The poll also had a series of questions on Leveson, which generally speaking show the public pretty evenly divided. Some of the aims of the proposed regulations, such as forcing newspapers to print corrections or making newspapers who do not join the system subject to larger libel fines met with widespread support (90% and 62% respectively), but questions on the details of how the system works met with divided replies and large proportions of don’t knows. To be honest, I suspect that while people would like an effective and independent system of press regulation, few outside the industry or politics really care about the difference between underpinning by royal charter or by legislation.


432 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 29, LAB 41, LD 12, UKIP 12”

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  1. ‘While Spain’s economy minister Luis De Guindos proclaimed in the Senate today that bank deposits under EUR100,000 are “sacred”and that”Spanish savers should stay calm,” Spain, it would appear, haschanged constitutional rules to enable a so-called ‘moderate’ levy on deposits – as under previous Spanish law this was prohibited. For now, they claim the ‘levy’ will be “not much higher than 0%” and is mainly aimed at regions in Spain that have “made no effort to collect taxes” based on new revenue expectations. ‘

    And new Zealand has already prepared the ground for the same thing, so it ain’t just a euro thing

  2. And PS. There’s little to be gained by Germany complaining that countries didn’t behave morally in a system where moral hazard was abandoned.

  3. Well ignoring moral hazard can simply cause MORE problems down the line. Like taking a payday loan to get by only to wind up in a bigger hole. Moral hazard is perhaps inappropriately named. It’s a practical problem, not just a moral one.

    But it’s a false dilemma really, if it is possible in realpolitik to construct a deal in which Cyprus share the hit without being plunged into austerity. ..

  4. It’s interesting this question of morality.

    Colin and others like to blame us all for “over borrowing” and living beyond our means and suggest now that we are due (biblical?) retribution. But I have a relatively small mortgage and no other borrowing, but my pay has been frozen for years, my employers routinely and publicly agree how rubbish we all are and meanwhile those who lent all that dodgy money that they magicked up from ridiculous devices are paying themselves millions in bonuses.

    If there was any moral retribution to be had, let’s start in the City, shall we?

    Stealing savers’ money, printing billions and calling it QE, bailing out lenders and punishing borrowers…

    Let all the banks die and their debts vanish with them. All those mortgages should be unenforceable because the money lent didn’t exist and the lenders were insolvent anyway.

    Let everybody off all their borrowing and don’t give the banks any more money. If you are going to steal deposits you are hardly a “bank” at all, as nobody will bank with thieves.

  5. Something is going on with the pound, about 20 mind ago it went on a tear moving a while cent up against the dollar in 5mins

  6. Ahh, Now has decided against more QE

  7. Carefrew

    No. You design systems to enforce moral hazard proactively. Retrospectively enforcing it is both arbitrary and an indulgence if it is economically counterproductive.

  8. @NickP

    According to the right it is vital that you take the hit for the screw ups of others lest we unleash the genie of “demonising the aspiration” of those screwing things up.

    One would have thought that’s the kind of aspiration we could do without. ..

  9. @Lefty

    Eh? Moral hazard isn’t being retroactively applied. It is already a part of the situation. Cyprus are in a world of hurt for their banking decisions. If the EU bail them out without them taking a hit, then you are building IN a requirement that the EU proactively eliminate moral hazard. ..

  10. Could those who seem to be backing the plucky Cypriots against the nasty Germans tell us what they would have the Uk do he Channel Islands or the Isle of Man got into the same problems.

    I seem to recall that both Bermuda and the cayman Isles are in trouble too. Are people all for bailing out rock stars and Movie moguls with UK taxes if their favourite tax haven goes array.

    As to Scotland maintaining a sterling zone is the best medium position at least until we see what the final eurozone will look like.

    It is the least worst option for transition as we have the examples of Norway, Iceland and Ireland around us to compare it with.

    The idea that e are going to be ruled by Brussels is of course nonsense in that if the EU had anything like the powers Westminster has Cyprus wouldn’t be in this mess.

    Oh and one way those who are backing the plucky Cypriots could really show support would be to transfer all their savings into a bank in Cyprus, that would be real solidarity.

    Peter.

  11. OK let me put that in a better way… I followed your wording which has the moral hazard thing the wrong way around.

    Moral hazard is something we wouldn’t want to enforce as you put it. It is something to avoid – people being able to take risks without consequences isn’t ideal.

    Moral hazard was not initially part of the situation and wasn’t retrospectively apolied. In other words Cyprus stood to take a hit for their actions. If you bail them out without them taking much of a hit, then you proactively introduce moral hazard…

  12. LEFTY

    @” don’t disagree with this. But it is not important. This is what I mean about focussing on morality when what we should focus on is the economic solution.
    Of course, lessons should be learned for the future. New systems will be required that enforce moral probity. But allowing the questions about responsibility to cloud the question of what best to do NOW is a potential disaster.”

    Iam glad we have some measure of agreement.

    But I cannot agree that “morality” helps. It does not.

    There is a danger here that ” well everyone else was doing it” becomes an excuse.

    AS an explanation it has a role -but as an excuse it is to construct a spurious morality.

    I am wary of “morality”-you need to understand so much about who is preaching it & defining it.

    So I don’t want “moral probity”-I don’t know what it means.

    I want fiscal & monetary responsibility.

    I agree with you that the construction of the monetary union, deliberately ignoring , as it did, the inconvenience of fiscal & political sovereignty , obscured at the outset, the question of “responsibility”.

    So -yes responsibility for this mess is shared across the EZ institutions. But the specific circumstances of the Banking sector in Cyprus , and the tax & fiscal policies of that country rest with it’s government (s)

  13. @PeterCairns

    “what they would have the Uk do he Channel Islands or the Isle of Man got into the same problems.”

    Let them go bust and send them food parcels? What duty do we have to anyone with cash in either of those locations?

  14. NICKP

    @”Let all the banks die and their debts vanish with them. All those mortgages should be unenforceable because the money lent didn’t exist and the lenders were insolvent anyway.”

    You are on a different planet Nick, aren’t you?

    I hope you don’t work in the Treasury .

  15. “Last night the minister responsible for fighting tax evasion, Jérôme Cahuzac, resigned after a judicial investigation was launched into allegations of an illegal Swiss bank account, claims that at one point in this saga he appeared to have survived. For Mr Hollande, it only gets worse.”

    The Guardian.

    You have to laugh .

  16. More news on the budget. ..

    Apparently they may abolish the “beer escalator”. I didn’t know there was such an iniquitous thing. I prefer rum…

    Junior ISAs to unlock 4.8Bn in child trust funds. Osborne knows where all the money is squirreled away I’ll give him that. Mind you doesnt he have a trust fund?…

    An extension of the NewBuy scheme for home ownership. This originally supposed to help 100,000 buy their own home. According to Ed Balls it’s only helped 1,500 so far. ..

    Can’t see any decent rabbits yet. .

  17. @”Let them go bust and send them food parcels? What duty do we have to anyone with cash in either of those locations?”

    It seems like that’s the way German taxpayers view Cyprus.

  18. @Colin

    You do indeed!

  19. The other week Cameron wanted a minimum pricing for alcohol, this week he is scrapping the ‘beer tax’. It is totally inconsistent.

    Tax breaks for child care is getting bad press – unsuprisingly stay at home Mums losing Child Benefit while couples on 300,000 get 1.200 per child in tax breaks.

  20. Peter

    We have already bailed out the Cayman islands, they couldn’t pay their bills and were given money by the treasury

  21. @COUPER2802

    “Tax breaks for child care is getting bad press – unsuprisingly stay at home Mums losing Child Benefit while couples on 300,000 get 1.200 per child in tax breaks.”

    ————-

    Bit if a pattern? Aside from cutting the 50p rate you have the care costs cap benefitting the wealthier and now this. ..

  22. As someone with little understanding of economics (i.e. your average voter), I am delighted to see what’s happening in Cyprus. People who use tax havens so they don’t have to pay tax in their own countries deserve to lose some or all of their money. I hope this spreads to other tax havens.

  23. Headline on the beeb. .. unemployment rose between November and January…

    Osborne has just opened a twiiter account though. ..

    “I have a feeling new Tweeter @george_osborne is about to discover that Twitter isn’t always the best place for helpful, supportive advice,” tweeted London School of Economics media chief Charlie Beckett.

    “If he thought the reception he got at the Olympics was bad…,” tweeted former tabloid journalist Rich Peppiatt.

  24. The reason the Cypriot banks need bailing out is the huge losses they took on Greek govt bonds, this was known at the time, the haircuts on those bonds had to be large because the ECB refused to take any haircuts on the Greek bonds they hold. That it was stupid to hold so many Greek bonds is beyond doubt but the Cypriots allowed emotion to get in the way of business sense, in the same way I imagine would happen between Scotland and England

  25. Is Thomas Pascoe the first DT commentator to unequivocally say that the Coalition’s economic policy is not working without blaming the Opposition?

    Osborne has a lot of work to do here.

  26. It is strongly expected that commenter Howard ‘will say’ that the not leaking of budget proposals when they are of no discernible impact and most of which will not take place for another year is considered worthy of scrapping as a principle of governance.
    Howard will announce that he feels we are all being taken for a ride when individual journalists are able to alter their finances (or let their wives do it) when the rest of us are expected to just go ‘ooh’ fancy that after it is too late.

    He will condemn the whole charade as just that in a comment to be delivered to an expectant UKPR audience later today.

  27. http://news.sky.com/story/1067186/unemployment-rise-announced-on-budget-day

    The Stats Osborne Did Not Need is worth a read… right side of page…

    not very good news I am afraid

  28. @ Nick P

    For all the pain, there has been no gain.
    ——————
    The Richest 1% in the country are richer than they have ever been and getting richer.

  29. Apparently I can’t quote the telegraph. Probably they are too partisan!

  30. Well free markets are out of the window, govt loans for buying houses, shame there’s no govt loans for paying rent. Mind that would be even more anti market

  31. Howard

    Yes I agree and it’s yet another attack on free markets this time in information as not all news outlets received this info, for instance our friends in the blogosphere

  32. NickP – if Thomas Pascoe came here himself and posted it I’d moderate him, so quoting it goes the same way ;)

    As ever, please to try to post in the spirit of non-partisanship. You may think the government are wonderful/atrocious* but please leave those feelings at the door, or on someone else’s website.

    (*delete as applicable)

  33. So. … a couple of rabbits. …

    The extension of support for house buyers, more than expected. But does potentially leave us liable if the market worsens

    And the £2k NI cut for employers.

    Much of the rest had already been leaked again. ..

    Bit dissappointed naturally that rum didn’t get a cut along with beer. Or failing that, bourbon would have been good. Or wine… Someone said that cutting beer and not wine and spirits could be against EU regulations so it could be another pasty tax moment if so. ..

  34. @RICHARD IN NORWAY
    “Well free markets are out of the window, govt loans for buying houses…”

    ————–

    We’re becoming more American every day….

  35. This Cyprus thing gets really boring to be honest. We are really talking about peanuts. Who made a mistake and who didn’t is a different matter, but still not particularly exciting.

    You have several options:

    1) Treat all depositors as lenders to (potentially) insolvent banks. You can force a liquidation and probably they don’t get anything. Perfectly moral by the way. It has happened since WW2 a few times, but not often.

    2) Use the deposit protection scheme (the only issue is that it is national and not EU, irrespective of the interestingly uninformed opinions in the press). If you can, some people’s savings are protected fully, some only partially. Perfectly moral, as we are dealing with known constraints on risk taking.

    3) Saying that everybody has to pay something and we only pay some of the cost of the bailout. There cannot be any moral argument, but we now have utility argument. Who is everybody? What is something? Why do we pay at all any part?

    4) Can’t stand the Russian oligarchs, let’s punish them. No moral and no utility argument. But since we cannot do it openly, goes back to 3) and now we can further evaluate the utility argument.

    5) Most likely: somebody had too much time in hand and hoped that he or she could present a compromise. It happens to be a compromise between fire and the fire engine. No moral and no utility argument..

    (By the way, somebody mentioned earlier that bond holders do not apply for Cyprus. Well, they do and they would have to take a haircut if the recommendations are implemented).

    Politically it is pure posturing,, there is no real content. It seems that the markets know it, because I don’t see any raid on banks elsewhere. Will the posturing have a political reward? I don’t think so. Will the posturing have a political payload? I don’t think so.

  36. Laszlo

    I was enjoying the Cyprus crisis, now you have gone and spoiled it for me. I probably need one of those yellow blobby things here

  37. I think you should put Pascoe on auto-mod. Can’t risk him saying that sort of stuff.

    I don’t think the budget is going to lose the Government votes…might gain some?

    Of course we won’t really know until the details aare examined. If it all starts to unravel it could be fun.

  38. As an aside, I’ve just done a poll based on the comments underneath this article, and it looks like UKIP are heading for a shock 100% of the vote in Thurrock at the next GE.

    http://www.thurrockgazette.co.uk/news/10300973.UKIP_leader_Farage__We_re_targeting_Thurrock/

  39. A lot of tax cuts mentioned in the budget but I didn’t hear where the money was coming from. Or did I miss that?

  40. @ Richard in Norway

    I enjoyed it for a few days, but then…

    Yet, it is more interesting than the budget although the latter one probably has a little bit more influence on things (should have put the little it terribly small letters) that affect people’s life (outside of Cypriots of course).

  41. The number of people out of work nudged up 7,000 to 2.52 million in the three months to the end of January, according to official figures. The politically sensitive number of young people without a job ticked up to 993,000 in the three months to January, taking the unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds to 21.2%.

    On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics said inflation rose to a nine-month high of 2.8% in February, adding to the squeeze on consumer spending power, which could dampen growth prospects over the coming months.

    The Office for National Statistics said average weekly earnings growth including bonuses slowed to 1.2% in the three months through January.
    —————-
    A 1.6% gap between inflation & pay rises with increasing unemployment; I think this might have more effect on people’s perception of the economy than today’s budget.

  42. LizH – the biggest increase in govt revenue from the budget appears to be coming from the ending of contracting out of NI. Other increases in revenue are the bank levy, various anti-avoidance things, and bigger cuts in spending… which we wont know the details of until the next spending round.

    All the ins and outs are here:

    http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2013_chapter2.pdf

  43. lizh

    Pay freeze on public servants. Earlier introduction of flat rate pension (contracting out ends). Squeeze on departmental budgets.

    The theory is that cutting public spending is good for the economy. See all earlier comments and any economics textbook about “demand” for alternative view.

  44. Warning: surprise statement from me.

    I think GO brought out the most he could have possible done with the budget politically (I hope everybody knows that economy doesn’t play a role in this). It is a fairly decent attempt to buy a very few votes and not to upset the existing voting base (since I’m out of the country I couldn’t watch his performance, but could read his speech).

    Everything else would have been worse, I believe, in terms of votes.

    So, then the real question: was there any budget that could have changed the voting patterns in the CURRENT situation, presented by the chancellor of EITHER of the two main parties? Visiting this website for 3 years or so and reading the comments and AW’s introductions, I doubt it.

  45. @Nick P
    “if it all starts to unravel it could be fun”

    It always does. It unravels as soon as Osborne sits down and all the reams of published documents go public. And then it unravels a lot more by the weekend after all the experts get their heads around what those documents really mean.

    Take this for starters. Borrowing this year has risen instead of falling, contrary to what Osborne told the Commons:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/03/revealed-how-osborne-misled-mps-over-deficit

    There’ll be more of this sort to come. There always is.

  46. “The theory is that cutting public spending is good for the economy. See all earlier comments and any economics textbook about “demand” for alternative view.”

    ————–

    When Osborne began his speech he said his budget would address the fiscal, the monetary and… supply. Normally people talk of “supply and demand” but even the word “demand” seems anathema to our Chancellor. ..

  47. AMBER STAR
    “The number of people out of work nudged up 7,000 to 2.52 million in the three months to the end of January, according to official figures.”

    ———

    According to Jim’s Sky link above it could be rather worse…..

    “However, the ONS also produces unofficial single-month estimates, which should not be ignored. And the picture they paint is not encouraging at all.

    In the single month of January, unemployment rose by 116,000 to 2.6m – the highest level for just under a year.

    Taking December and January together, unemployment rose by 192,000 – the biggest two-month increase in the jobless total since June 2009, the very depths of Britain’s deepest recession in generations.

    In other words, not only is unemployment rising, it’s rising at an alarming rate.”

  48. @Anthony Wells @NickP

    Thank you both.

    When watching these events, I often get side tracked watching people’s body language etc. Two things struck me today. David Cameron’s face seemed to suggest (to me ) that he was listening hard but didn’t understand what Osborne was talking about. Also Ed M has definitely grown in confidence.

  49. There weren’t many obvious nasties in the budget. Question is how much impact things like NI cuts and the housing help have in practice. Both in terms of individuals experience of securing housing and work, and then the knock on effects to the economy. ..

  50. @LASZLO
    “I think GO brought out the most he could have possible done with the budget politically (I hope everybody knows that economy doesn’t play a role in this).”

    ——-

    Eh? Why is the economy unimportant politically? Clearly it matters to the budget hence corporation tax cuts etc. ..

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