This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 12%. The four point Labour lead is lower than YouGov’s recent average, but well within the normal margin of error.

Today’s poll also had YouGov’s regular bank of tracker questions on the government’s cuts and these produced one striking figure. For the last couple of years public opinion on the cuts has been pretty steady. On balance people think the cuts are bad for the economy, they think they are unfair, many people think they are too fast or too deep… yet people think they are necessary. In short, people don’t like the medicine, they think it may be making things worse, but they don’t see any alternative to taking it.

However in the latest figures people were evenly split on whether the cuts are good or bad for the economy. 41% think they are bad for the economy, 41% think they are good for the economy. As ever, one should not read too much into a single poll, but this finding does reflect an ongoing trend. Over recent weeks and months public opinion has been moving in favour of the cuts.

Below is the tracker data on if people think the cuts are good or bad for the economy. They turned against them very early in the Parliament, at the tail end of 2010. Opinion got even more negative after the 2012 “omnishambles” budget, but since late in 2012 the trend has been moving in favour of the cuts, eventually reaching towards figures where opinion is evenly balanced.

Looking at whether the cuts are fair or unfair we have a different balance of opinion, but the same pattern of change. An overall majority of the public still think that the spending cuts are being carried out in an unfair way, but it bottomed out after the 2012 budget and since then there has been a slight movement away from “unfair”.

On whether the cuts are too deep, you can see the same pattern. By the time YouGov started this tracker in early 2011 public opinion had already decided that the cuts were too deep. Having moved in a bit it spikes back towards too deep after the 2012 budget, since then opinion has been moving towards the cuts being about right or too shallow (I’ve put about right and too shallow together in the graph – in the latest figures it’s 27% about right, 16% too shallow). I haven’t graphed the figures for whether people think the cuts are too fast, but they are very similar to those for “too deep”.

Finally here are the figures for whether people think the cuts are necessary. There isn’t really the same trend here – there’s a little bump after the 2012 budget, but broadly speaking the proportion of people who think the cuts are necessary has remained stable throughout the Parliament. However unfair or too deep or economically damaging they were seen to be, people have consistently thought the cuts were necessary. In some ways it will be interesting watching this question as we go forward – it’s possible that increasing economic confidence will make people think that cuts are working and, therefore, that it’s necessary to continue with them. Alternatively, people might think that if the economy is on the rise it is no longer necessary to continue with cuts. We shall see.


350 Responses to “Attitudes to the cuts”

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  1. SHEVII

    @”I think it should be the other way round and people should be incentified NOT to have children.”

    Now that’s what I call original thinking-not a vote winner though I feel !

  2. @ Alec

    I also find it highly odd that a woman on maternity leave (ie not working) still builds up their full holiday entitlement during the period they are not working, and can then claim this once they return to work. I just find that seriously off balance.
    ————–
    It isn’t “off balance”. People on sick leave, carer leave, adoption leave etc. still build up holiday entitlement without actually being at work.

  3. Amber

    I think we are bashing our heads against a brick wall here.

    Perhaps that’s what’s meant by Victorian values ,believing its still the bloody Nineteenth Century!

    Damn they have made me sound like one of “that lot” now

  4. I’ve asked these questions before and got no answers but I’ll try again.

    For all in the “Britain is Full” brigade.

    What is your target population?
    How should it be distributed?
    How much of it should be through immigration and how should it be encouraged/discouraged/ controlled?
    How much of it should be through emigration and how should it be encouraged/discouraged/ controlled?
    What proportion should be below 16 and how do you achieve this?
    What proportion should be above 65 and how do you achieve this?

    Peter.

  5. Oh dear oh dear-your life must one long round of sighs as you contemplate the unenlightened attitudes of the common man ,above whom you float so magnificently.

    -Colin

    I am one of the “Common men” family of modest means comprehensive school and then university on merit educated and a job as a low paid Police Officer ,married to a nurse.

    As one of the Common men I disagree with everything you just said!

  6. STEVE

    @”Perhaps that’s what’s meant by Victorian values ,believing its still the bloody Nineteenth Century!”

    I think that’s what is known as non sequitur-or “shifting the goal posts wide of the opposing argument”

  7. Steve,

    A good starting point would be a public register of all land. I believe much rural land is still unregistered. Although this is a key issue, I don’t see any political party making it a priority.

  8. I wouldn’t know I am one of the Common Men!

  9. @STEVE – Actually I didn’t accuse you of calling me a little Englander – I stated that before you or anyone else said it!

    All over Europe our countries and nationalities are getting mixed up in a huge pool of ‘Globalism’ and ‘Internationalism’ etc – and its causing resentment in some quarters for a variety of reasons.

  10. Sine

    Have you got something against Mixing of Nationalities ?

    Personally I am a mix of Irish,Scot, Italian and English with a bit of American and Moroccan thrown in, can’t say it’s every caused me any resentment.

    Perhaps I haven’t frequented those particular quarters, are they perchance the quarters where bongo bongo land is deemed an acceptable expression?

  11. While population growth overall is indeed a concern if we look at where the growth areas are we invariably find that it primarily comes from underdeveloped nations (if we’re a bit cynical we also find it correlates very nicely with absence of women’s rights).

    Western nation’s population growth comes mostly from immigration and this is largely accepted to be a good thing. Very bad things can happen to an economy when its population starts to shrink, just look at Detroit!

    So for all of you advocating population control in this country I’d be very careful what you wish for. You may well end up in your little Victorian paradise of your own… on your own and back in the 19th century…

  12. @STEVE – I find that comment very offensive to be honest – I don’t mean that and you know I didn’t!

    The mixing of our nationalities and in particular our culture is causing resentment in certain quarters. – That is not a racist comment as you are trying to make out al-be-it in a guarded language.
    Simply take the two great cultures of the western society in general and Islam – almost totally incompatible and it will cause huge problems further down the line.

    A gentle mix of nationalities which we have had in Britain and other countries is absolutely fine and enriches society but if its taken too far – well we can surely see problems arising even now.

  13. @ Alec

    I do just tire of the fact that the minute anyone touches a sacred cow, and points out that actually, there are consequences and difficulties, we suddenly get lectured on being somehow outrageous.
    ————–
    I’m probably banging my head off a brick wall (as Steve suggested) but you said that women were “playing the system” – you can’t read women’s minds & you didn’t even know what the ‘the system’ was!!! That was the “outrageous” bit of your comment.

    You then topped it up by claiming that allowing women to accrue holiday pay whilst on SML was ‘unbalanced’ giving a further demonstration of your lack of knowledge on this & related subjects.

    But you’ve done a reasonable job of papering over the cracks by saying that women still suffer from discrimination on returning to work & that perhaps it would be fairer were both genders allowed to build up paid leave for family or for any other reason that the employee chooses.

    However – I must add – SMP is hardly a “sacred cow”, given it is a relatively recent advance which is reviewed at every budget. And there is certainly more than enough (usually ill-informed) criticism of SMP/SML to disqualify it from “sacred cow” status!

  14. Miguel,

    “Western nation’s population growth comes mostly from immigration”

    Eh no, it actually comes from people no dying. The increase in life expectancy is what is causing our population to both age a grow. Not a lot of people are being born compared to the past but we are dying even more slowly.

    Sine,

    “Simply take the two great cultures of the western society in general and Islam – almost totally incompatible and it will cause huge problems further down the line.”

    What incompatibility?

    Christian’s and Muslim’s have lived side by side across the globe for centuries and in most of the world still do.

    There have been wars between the two religions or where leaders used religion as an excuse, but there have been far more within each religion than between them!

    I wonder where people get this nonsense from, probably reading the Sun or listening to Tony Blair.

    Peter.

  15. Colin,

    So just what basis do you have for thinking that scapegoating others as a solution to common problems represents the views of the common man?

    As Steve pointed out there are plenty of people who feel as. I do that in tough times we should stand together and protect the weak and the best of social provision rather than fight amongst ourselves and scale back social protection when it is most needed using small scale abuses as an excuse.

    Peter.

  16. @ Rogerrebel

    No-one is talking about forced sterilisation or euthanasia or whatever. Population control is not easy but it is not even being attempted and, however fair it might be, we are giving incentives for people to have children.

    @ Colin

    Yes agree this is not a vote winner but I feel a little hard done by having my privates tied in knots by a doctor with two nurses present, probably inwardly laughing at the size of the aforementioned, all for the good of the nation… and all with no financial rewards (yes this time I am joking!)

  17. Good Afternoon All.

    Before I go to our beach for commoners, I ask two questions hoping for answers please.
    I. Is this the right place for a discussion about polling?

    ii. Why is the Lib Dem figure so high at 10% today?

  18. cl45

    ” Is this the right place for a discussion about polling?”

    No: you’ve come to the shouting and arguing forum. Polling is on yer left.

  19. @Peter – Well I for one do neither of those two things Peter!

    I am a practicing Christian Peter and have a large Muslim population right on my doorstep and fear nothing at all from the main bulk of that culture.
    However it does concern me quite a bit that they have built up a very strong community which has everything they need without really venturing out to the main town centres.
    Shops, Health Facilities, Leisure Facilities, Mosques and the like and I have worked in that area and there is a feeling of ‘this is our area’ mentality mainly from the younger (late teens early 20s) population.
    I appreciate some people like this idea and actively promote it but I personally don’t think its right and feel they have deliberately segregated themselves from the mainstream community.

  20. By the way Peter I presume you know that the principal mouthpiece for Islam in Britain has publicly stated that by 2050 they fully expect to see the flag of Islam fly over Downing Street – by peaceful means of course and also via out-populating the indigenous population.
    You happy with this statement and how its all come about?

  21. MIGUEL SILVA

    “Very bad things can happen to an economy when its population starts to shrink, just look at Detroit!”

    Actually I think you will find that it was the other way round.

    The population -and a very specific part of the population-left as a result of the cities economic administration.

    What Detroit has experienced is a disappearance of the tax base, and a retention of it’s former beneficiaries.

    An incredible story.

  22. PETER CAIRNS

    I’m not going to respond to your characterisation of the views of others.

    I find them simplistic , patronising & a tad holier than thou.

  23. @Amber – “But you’ve done a reasonable job of papering over the cracks by saying that women still suffer from discrimination on returning to work & that perhaps it would be fairer were both genders allowed to build up paid leave for family or for any other reason that the employee chooses.”

    Well the bit about extending this benefit to everyone was actually my starting point, so perhaps you’ve just caught up, rather than me paper over cracks?

    “You then topped it up by claiming that allowing women to accrue holiday pay whilst on SML was ‘unbalanced’ giving a further demonstration of your lack of knowledge on this & related subjects.”

    I do see this as completely unbalanced. Being sick isn’t voluntary – being pregnant is, and I completely fail to see why people should get a years holiday, with some limited benefit payments, and still build up additional holiday entitlements for a job they aren’t doing. I find that seriously strange.

    Similarly, there is a direct cost to businesses where pension contributions are concerned. These have to be continued throughout the period of paid maternity leave (up to 39 weeks) at the normal rate. This is a direct cost to business that isn’t recouped through the NI and tax system. As with holidays, someone has chosen to do something which prevents them from working, but the employer must continue to provide certain work related benefits where no work is being given in return.
    Linking this to sickness benefits is entirely spurious – it’s a choice to have babies.

    I think what we’ve seen here is one of those cases of someone saying something really rather mild, that flags up a slightly difficult aspect of something that we all generally support. The reaction has been a bit over the top, in my view, while also failing to address the concerns raised in the first place.

    It’s very much bang in line with the subject I originally posted about, and pretty much as predicted.

  24. Sine

    Are you allowed to shop in those Muslim shops and use those leisure facilities, if so I don’t see theproblem. Myself I think you are fortunate to have such easy access to halal meat which tastes so much better than the non halal

  25. SHEVII

    lol.

  26. @ PETERCAIRNS

    “Eh no, it actually comes from people no dying. The increase in life expectancy is what is causing our population to both age a grow. Not a lot of people are being born compared to the past but we are dying even more slowly.”

    Actually Peter, natural change, defined as difference between birth rate and mortality rate, has only recently overtaken immigration as the main driver of population growth in the UK and even then it has been only marginal with a 52% to 48% split between the two. This has not been the case in the last decade where immigration has been the main driver.

    These are of course complex issues and we have both perhaps committed the fallacy of being overly simplistic in our analysis. I think it’s fairer to say that population growth in the future is likely to be driven by a mix of increased life expectancy and immigration, I would be very surprised to see a jump in the birth rate.

    With this in mind my original point of cautioning against policies that either further decrease the birth rate or reduce immigration becomes even more prevalent if we are to face the challenges of sustaining an ageing population.

  27. @ Alec

    It’s very much bang in line with the subject I originally posted about, and pretty much as predicted.
    —————-
    You originally posted that women are “playing” your imaginary ‘system’.

    Now you say that pregnancy is a choice & being sick isn’t – except you forget to mention that pregnancy is a two person choice but only one suffers for it in the workplace – & if you can’t stretch your mind around that when it comes to gender equality, then there’s not much hope of you ‘getting’ why your original comment & some of the follow up was inflammatory.

    I tried to ‘meet you half way’ but you are still on your high horse.

  28. @Colin

    “The population -and a very specific part of the population-left as a result of the cities economic administration.”

    The reasons for Detroit’s downfall are very complex and certainly economic administration can be counted among them, it would however be very simplistic if we attribute its downfall to that single element… sprawl has been advanced by some as another cause and I tend to agree with many in that camp.

    Regardless, my point was that Detroit illustrates what can happen to an area with relatively high labour mobility (people are free to leave) when economic fortunes turn for the worse. That leaves them as you rightly point with a reduced tax base. Now imagine a government would take steps to drastically reduce the birth rate of a nation coupled with limiting immigration? What would happen to the tax base of that country?

    That’s right, I don’t think I need to spell it out.

  29. MIGUEL

    @”“Western nation’s population growth comes mostly from immigration”

    Correct.

    http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/kpi/scwru/pubs/2013/conf/hussein26jun13.pdf

    //ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/working/regions2020/pdf/regions2020_ demographic.pdf

  30. Colin,

    Well given that we live in a diverse country you will get diverse views.

    I personally dislike those who look for others to blame, particularly when it is the weak and vulnerable. Lucky for us these people are a minority but I still don’t like their views.

    Sine,

    “However it does concern me quite a bit that they have built up a very strong community.”

    I thought building up a strong community would be a good thing.

    “Shops, Health Facilities, Leisure Facilities, Mosques and the like and I have worked in that area and there is a feeling of ‘this is our area’ ”

    Well it isn’t unusual for the character of an area to reflect it’s population and to change over time. I have no doubt if it was overwhelmingly white working class christian that their would be a chip shop, a bookies, a tanning parlour and a church.

    It’s hardly the zombie apocalype if shops reflect the people who live there.

    “publicly stated that by 2050 they fully expect to see the flag of Islam fly over Downing Street .”

    Presumably he means that if in 40 years the majority of Britain’s are Muslims and they elect a pro Islamic party that impliments a policy of flying the flag of Islam then that is what we’ll get.

    I think that is called democracy!

    No doubt as our society changes for better or worse over time future governments will impliments all kinds of things we might think are odd or dislike.

    Surely the whole point of living in a free country is that at any time people can freely choose a government and elect politicians that they feel represent their views.

    If we had been having this conversation forty years ago about now, rather than about forty years in the future, you could have raised the same concerns about Gay Marriage. The majority didn’t support it then but they do now.

    Go back 140 years and it would have been votes for women.

    Things change get used to it!

    Oh and just for the record I think that even in the unlikely event that we have a majority of Muslims in 2050, after forty years brought up in a modern consumer society I very much doubt they will want Shiria law any more than most people do now.

    But even if it is unlikely if that is what the majority want they will have every right to have it.

    Peter.

  31. @Colin – Well said I suppose I should have joined you in that!

    @Richard in Norway – Totally missing the point as usual – and Halal meat is already being introduced in all our local schools whether we like it or not so as to please the Muslim population – is that a right thing to do?
    Why should I eat Halal meat if I happen to think its extremely cruel how they are killed – which I do!!

    No sorry – but the Muslim culture is starting to creep into our everyday lives and most people don’t even realise it and not even informed about it.
    Whats next – Sharia Law – bit by bit.
    Its happening right before our eyes in certain areas and we are that complacent about it all – we do nothing to stop it.

  32. @everyone – by the way thats my final post on the subject before Anthony shouts at all of us.

    Get back to Polling issues quickly!

    Labour Lead slowly shrinking.
    Conservatives edging up point by point.
    LDs struggling to poll beyond 12%
    UKIP slowly dropping a few points
    LOL – :)

  33. MIGUEL

    @”Now imagine a government would take steps to drastically reduce the birth rate of a nation coupled with limiting immigration? What would happen to the tax base of that country?”

    Any government which wished to do both of those things would clearly have to think very carefully about the net demographic change.

    Regarding Detroit-it is a fascinating story. My own interpretation is that it starts with long term maladministration with a particular social & political agenda.
    But there are many angles, I agree.

    I don’t think there is a read across to a national level though. Whole states which mirror the Detroit experience must be thin on the ground……….Cuba perhaps?

  34. Sine,

    Just out of curiosity, when do you eat school meals and are you forced too?

    Peter.

  35. Blimey… here was me thinking that this sort of childish nonsense was reserved for the House of Commons

  36. @Colin

    You’re probably right, I was trying to use Detroit as a cautionary tale but it is the wrong example. I still think that the warning against social engineering on a national scale is a sound one but I’ll concede the example was rather lame.

    I’ve not looked at Cuba so can’t comment, if I get some time this evening I’ll do a few google searches, truth of the matter is I don’t know of any government, that would simultaneously enact policies that decrease immigration and birth rate. I suppose the policy is so patently suicidal maybe nobody even tried.

    And thanks for those links, the second seems broken but the first was excellent, wish I had seen the presentation, gets right at the issues that really matter.

  37. Oh course the real issue that should worry us about a shrinking population is no one being able to reach the door handles !!!

    Peter.

  38. Simply take the two great cultures of the western society in general and Islam – almost totally incompatible and it will cause huge problems further down the line.

    -Of course these have nothing to do with Nationalities I am a Jew married to a Catholic and that seems to have worked out OK for the last 25 Years.

    Islam and Christianity can exist without conflict and has done so in many countries given good will and frankly does the vast majority of the time in the UK

    I didn’t imply you are a racist and rather take offence that you suggest I did.

    So now we are both offended shall we leave it at that?

  39. @STEVE – see my comment above at 4.06pm!!

  40. I think there should be allowances for people with puppies – like child benefit but a bit more.

    Our girls lose a lot of rubber balls in the river and they don’t grow on trees. [Well the rubber does but it’s not ball-shaped. Actually there could be a market there for someone scientific – a rubber ball tree.]

    I think it was Bobby Vee who had a hit with “Rubber Ball” around 1960.

  41. Obama not going to meet Putin. Not a surprise.

  42. @Paulcroft – yes I heard that too. Something about being stuck in the airport?

  43. My Latin doppelganger –

    If halal meat in school meals is the worst example of encroaching Islamic culture (and I’m driven to suspect that that’s an isolated incident) then I suspect you have little to worry about.

    Anyway, I’m doing a bit of campaigning on Saturday in Loughborough’s Ashby ward. It’s quite a safe Labour seat nominally, but in 2011 it was a straight Lab-Con battle. Maybe this time UKIP will run, so we’ll see what happens.

  44. Steve,

    “I am a Jew married to a Catholic and that seems to have worked out OK for the last 25 Years.”

    Good point!

    I am a Catholic married to a Catholic and it’s been a long hard slog!

    Peter

  45. @ Mr Nameless

    I’m doing a bit (more) campaigning tonight in Edinburgh; our CLPs are pretty keen & do some at least once a week. :-)

  46. Still no takers on the Optimum Population for the UK and how to achieve it?

    Peter.

  47. Sir Alan Beith is stepping down in 2015.

    LibDem v Tory fight!

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide/berwick-upon-tweed/

    Peter.

  48. @Peter

    What is your target population?

    About 30m would be nice. Anything between 10m and 50m would be OK. Enough that the country can still support services and culture, but that no additional land is lost to development and food/water resources are plentiful.

    How should it be distributed?

    They should live where they want to live, subject to the availability of water supplies and employment. Certain areas, where large populations accumulated for heavy industries that no longer exist, should probably be re-ruralised.

    How much of it should be through immigration and how should it be encouraged/discouraged/ controlled?

    Immigration should be permitted only for unification of families, genuine asylum cases, or to fill jobs which the employers can evidence cannot be adequately filled by local applicants. Illegal immigration should be vigorously tackled. If necessary including stopchecks at stations and daft posters on vans.

    How much of it should be through emigration and how should it be encouraged/discouraged/ controlled?

    Emigration is a personal matter which the state should not concern itself with. If emigration rates are extremely heavy due to a problem in the country, then it is the problem itself that should be addressed, not the emigration.

    What proportion should be below 16 and how do you achieve this?

    Whatever proportion is the natural/normal figure for a birth rate of around 1:1 and a gradually increasing life expectancy.

    What proportion should be above 65 and how do you achieve this?

    Whatever proportion is the natural/normal figure for a birth rate of around 1:1 and a gradually increasing life expectancy.

    Does that answer your questions?

    Can I ask you a question? Is there any size of UK population, or number of new immigrants, that would count as “too much” for you? 100m? 300m? 75m?

  49. @Petercairns – I seem to recall the Greens had 30m as their optimum some time back in the 1980’s, but there was a certain vagueness about the mechanics of getting there. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what their position is now.

    And to be clear, and just in case your 3.12pm post regarding the scaling back of benefits was in part aimed at some of my comments, that would be a misconstruing of what I’ve been saying.

    The subtext of my suggestions today has been to promote the extension of rights to everyone, rather than singling out one group of people who voluntarily decide to do something. In doing this, I am suggesting that pregnant women would actually get more protection, as there would no longer be any reason to discriminate against them.

  50. Neil A,

    30 m would mean halving the population. Even 50m means getting 10m to either leave or die.

    Why is emigration a personal matter but not immigration. If it’s in the national interst to get the population down then why should the two be treated differently.

    Equally if the way to address it is by addressing the problem then why not the same for immigration. If people are attracted to the Uk because of better prospects or a better standard of living then reducing the standard of living for everyone would make the UK less attractive.

    If you are aiming for 1:1 with gradually rising life expectancy and one is larger than the others what do you do.? Sterilisation? Euthenasia?

    As to how many would be to many, I suspect that it could at some point theoretically reach 100m and we could cope but I don’t have a target or in general a problem with the population growing over time. 100 years ago the idea of 60m would probably have seemed unimaginable.

    Peter.

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