The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out tonight, the first of the three telephone polls each month. Topline voting intention figures with changes from December are CON 32%(nc), LAB 35%(-2), LDEM 14%(+2), UKIP 10%(+1). The three point Labour lead is lower than ICM’s last few polls, but not completely out of kilter, they were showing three and four point leads last autumn.

ICM also find the growing economic confidence that we’ve seen in other trackers, though interestingly theirs is in a question that also specifically references keeping up with the cost of living. Asked to “consider the economy for a moment, your current financial position, and your ability to keep up with the cost of living” 52% now say they are confident, 47% not confident – the most positive since 2010.

The poll also asked about protecting pensioners from cuts, finding 33% wanting pensioners excluding, 59% wanting everyone to take their share, and immigration. The immigration question appears to have been prefaced with information telling respondents that immigrants are more likely to be in work than other British residents, but even with the effect of that information 54% say immigration is bad for Britain, only 36% good.

Meanwhile today’s twice-weekly Populus poll had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9%. Tabs here.


385 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 32, LAB 35, LD 14, UKIP 10”

1 6 7 8
  1. Taxing corporations more rigorously is a fantastic objective, but I think it is largely outside the gift of any national government. The current government has at least made noises towards the idea of greater cooperation to prevent evasion and avoidance (whether it’s just lip service I don’t know) and I am pretty sure almost everyone would welcome a continued effort by whoever wins in 2015.

    But success is by no means guaranteed, as it depends the actions of other jurisdictions as well as our own.

    Report comment

  2. It would be useful on corporate taxation to have the co-operation of the EU, but the current government seems to be doing its best to antagonise that institution out of fear of UKIP.

    By the fact that UKIP are done no harm for all the times they bring up immigration and Europe, you’d think someone would tell the Tories to stop.

    Report comment

  3. @Bill

    Raising the top rate of tax by 5% back to 50% would raise about £1bn once established, based on halving Darling’s estimate of the impact of a 10% increase back in 2009. I don’t regard that as insignificant. That of course requires the tax to be stable between years so that income can’t be conveniently brought forward or deferred as a tax avoidance measure. Osborne’s estimate is of course much lower because he chose to treat such one-off avoidance as if it were sustainable long term as a reason to justify the cut.

    As for corporate tax avoidance, it is I think a matter of “where there’s a will (to tackle it) there’s a way”. There hasn’t been a lot of will around. Staffing cuts that slash the capacity of the Inland Revenue to tackle it seems the worst of a false economy for starters. And the attached link is to 1205 articles show that there’s plenty in terms of tax avoidance in general that a fully committed government might get it’s teeth into.

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/category/tax-avoidance/

    Report comment

  4. @NEILA

    “But success is by no means guaranteed, as it depends the actions of other jurisdictions as well as our own.”

    True up to a point. Of course many of the most egregious other jurisdictions are the UK by another name – Cayman Islands, BVI, Channel Islands, IoM and successive governments have done precious little to deter them or encourage reform.
    Some other jurisdictions (EG Switzerland) are making noises about more international cooperation but there has been little enthusiasm shown by the UK govt – Osborne in effect gave tax criminals (and these are evaders) 3 years notice to move their funds out of Switzerland before he would come to chase them (allegedly – I think that story came from Private Eye back when the Swiss changes were introduced)
    Whilst there are undoubtedly problems with international tax jurisdiction – for companies and the wealthy non-doms alike – I am far from convinced that a lot more could not be achieved with some real commitment from UK government. Neither party seems to have been all that interested.
    One thing that could be changed quite easily and with little electoral fuss would be to restore the link between CGT rates and the higher rate of income tax. I never understood why Brown broke that link, which was introduced I think by Lawson and seemed eminently sensible.
    Of course there is a capital gain that dare not speak its name and which I doubt any party will be brave enough to tackle, though IMO it would have a hugely positive effect on the economy – the exemption for CG on one’s prime residence.

    Report comment

  5. ” …you’d think someone would tell the Tories to stop.”

    But they can’t. The fracture has been widening for some time now, UKIP just drills down into their core and hey presto “god’s gifts” flow to the surface.

    Report comment

  6. Sorry to be late in on this one – I’ve been down ill – but Statgeek and Allan are right to wonder where Populus gets its info. Until there are some serious numbers being questioned – 500 plus in Scotland – we cannot trust their figures. Scotland has widely divergent regional voting patterns: e.g. Lib Dems have been strong in the Borders and the Highlands, but nowhere (usually) in the Central Belt – a bit like the old Liberals in parts of England. The Nats and Labour are also largely regional parties up till now. Populus needs to factor this in, and up the numbers being consulted. Otherwise they are just open to ridicule.

    Report comment

  7. PHIL HAINES

    @”Is that enough for you?”

    Yes-thank you.

    Report comment

  8. BILL

    Thanks-fair enough.

    Report comment

  9. AW

    Sorry AW I should have just reported that comment, not responded. In future I will try to do that and leave it at that.

    Report comment

  10. There is just possibly a difference between picking a very remunerative career, having eyes a bit bigger than one’s tummy, and flogging oneself to hoover up as much as possible, thus making oneself ill…

    …and careers where one’s health is on the line in the nature of the job itself, often in public service, and without the commensurate financial return.

    The more successful in the remunerative careers of course make enough to retire early and do something else they’d rather be doing before ill health kicks in, eg bankers I’ve known who made their money in their twenties and moved on…

    Report comment

  11. JOHN B

    Hope you are fully recovered now.

    Report comment

  12. Colin Davis

    Hi Allan Christie (from way back in this thread),

    I was taking the poll figures at the bottom of the page, whereas you were referring to the latest poll, so my error. However, there have been 11 polls this month, so I averaged all the parties scores over those 11 against the last 11 of December. There has been more or less no change at all.

    The figures are:
    End December: January to date:
    Conservative 33.1 31.9 (Fall 1.2)
    Labour 38.6 37.8 (Fall 0.8)
    LD 9.9 10.3 (Rise 0.4)
    UKIP 11.3 12.6 (Rise 1.3)
    Others 7 7.5
    Lead 5.5 5.
    ____________

    Thanks for your analysis and I agree over all there hasn’t been much shifting in the VI in broad terms but we have two recent polls and (still not confirmed) YouGov which Colin posted showing some movement.

    But time will tell.

    Report comment

  13. Phil Haines,

    £1 billion was the MOST optimistic scenario in the HMRC review of the revenue from a 50% rate, BEFORE taking into account behavioural effects over an extended period. £1 billion is less than 1% of the deficit. You can regard that as significant if you like, but it really isn’t.

    “Where there is a will, there’s a way” is a good slogan, but it’s lousy public finance. The reason that governments around the world are ineffective when it comes to cutting corporate tax avoidance is not because corporations are extremely popular, but because it’s very hard to do and isn’t a free lunch when it comes to long-term growth.

    Report comment

  14. ‘People will vote for tax increases as long as its the “other fellow” who is going to pay the extra tax.’ TOH 5:24.

    Sorry not to get back earlier – taking cat to vet.

    Yes, and similarly in local government people prefer to see cuts in services they do not use. Most of us act in our own interests.

    Very difficult decisions to be made. I almost wonder on occasion whether it would benefit a party to tread water for a time and come back in about 2020.

    Report comment

  15. Carfrew

    What about those who have a work ethic which is so strong that they are driven to do whatever job they get in life to the very best of their ability, whatever it takes.

    Report comment

  16. Alistair1948

    You could well be right about that, 2015 to 2020 could be as difficult a period as the current parliament. The choices certainly will de difficult for the reasons given above. Whatever choices are made i believe that they will eventually result n a permanently smaller State.

    Report comment

  17. I see that Carney has commented today on Labour’s proposed Bankers Bonus cap, and market share cap.

    He has reservations about both.

    The proposals will feature in EM’s speech on Friday I believe.

    Talking about “difficulties” for the next government, If it is Labour, I am beginning to see a series of squabbles with key industry sectors as a running sore through Labour’s term.

    If Unions weigh in with their two pennyworth , having metaphorically got their hands on the reins of power from the back seat as it were this could be very disruptive & certainly has the potential to impact economic performance.

    Report comment

  18. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    “What about those who have a work ethic which is so strong that they are driven to do whatever job they get in life to the very best of their ability, whatever it takes.”

    ——

    Yes, this is particularly salient in those who pursue such a work ethic in public service, rather than, for example, for personal gain while taking down the economy…

    Report comment

  19. @Bill

    There’s certainly not a will to tackle tax avoidance. If there were, we wouldn’t have seen huge cuts in HMRC’s capacity. I also gave you a link which demonstrated the scope for ways that governments could act to tackle tax avoidance, both individually and also in concert with other governments. So I find it a bit hard to accept your assertion that nothing of substance can be done. Nor does the Public Accounts Committee in terms of corporate tax avoidance specifically.

    Taken together, the annual impact of those other measures that I cited also start to add up:
    Mansion tax on properties worth £2m+ – £2bn
    50% higher rate income tax – £1bn (let’s just disagree on whether that’s realistic or not)
    Pension tax relief restricted to basic rate – £7bn
    Rise in minimum wage to halve the gap with a living wage – £1bn saving net to Treasury
    Inheritance tax – £1bn+ could be easily realised (given that only 4% of estates currently pay a total of £3.4bn between them annually)

    Report comment

  20. “Having metaphorically got their hands on the reins of power from the back seat as it were”

    I hear this a lot, but I’m unable to point to any Labour policies that look to have been directed by trade unions. Ed’s reforms to affiliation etc. certainly don’t seem popular to many of them.

    Report comment

  21. My sincere apologies to everyone for using the word “soppy”.

    LOL.

    Report comment

  22. Phil Haines,

    That’s 10% of the deficit, which is a start. To be fair, I had overlooked the pension relief tax rise.

    Report comment

  23. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead back up to six points: CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%

    Has AW been having a sneaky holiday and told the Sun to keep publishing the same results for weeks?

    Report comment

  24. Yougov:

    Lab – 39
    Con – 33
    Ukip – 12

    Report comment

  25. Well…………. a trend.

    But not one you’d recognise.

    Report comment

  26. For every day Lab are on 39, it represents another day gone for Cameron to turn things round.

    Still plenty of time, mind, but that poll is pretty much the same as the one on the 8th, and better for Lab than the one on the 7th. So another week gone, only another 75 or so to go.

    Report comment

  27. Specifically he’s got 476 days. But it’s only one of those that counts.

    Report comment

  28. Mr Nameless – chance would be a fine thing!

    Report comment

  29. @ Bill Patrick

    “£1 billion was the MOST optimistic scenario in the HMRC review of the revenue from a 50% rate, BEFORE taking into account behavioural effects over an extended period. £1 billion is less than 1% of the deficit. You can regard that as significant if you like, but it really isn’t.”

    The 50% rate was only operational for year. The HMRC figures show v. clearly the staggering drop in the dividend & diverse other forms of income declared by those liable to pay it in that year,

    To quote the BBC.
    “The HMRC’s main conclusion is that some wealthy people took much greater steps than anticipated to avoid paying the tax, at least in the first year.
    The main method was for owner-directors of companies to take dividends from investments in the previous tax year when the highest rate was still 40p in the pound.”

    Such tactics could not have been maintained for v. long. The tax needed at least a 3-year period of operation to judge its failure or success.

    Report comment

  30. @ Alister 1948,

    It’s rational for party leaders to try to reach swing voters, and perhaps the voters who think – as RogerH says – they are middle class (whatever it may mean) are likely to include some swing voters…

    Another complication is that, as posters on here point out, there are not many direct Cons-Lab switchers or vice-versa so far.

    Convincing Ukip-Con waverers- who judging by the comment section seem to comprise a large percentage of the Telegraph readership- that a Labour government wouldn’t be a total disaster might be enough to persuade them it’s safe to vote Ukip, which from Labour’s perspective is not ideal but is certainly preferable to a Tory vote.

    So Miliband has an incentive to woo them even if he doesn’t think there’s a realistic prospect of ever winning them over to Labour. (How effective his article was at achieving this goal, I couldn’t say, although Colin certainly seems to be very taken with it.)

    Report comment

  31. RobbieAlive,

    Actually, the behavioural effects of higher taxes (especially on things like income) increase over time, rather than decrease. Of course, we will never know what would have happened, but I’m going by what HMRC says-

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CEEQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hmrc.gov.uk%2Fbudget2012%2Fexcheq-income-tax-2042.pdf&ei=zsbWUtqOLse3hQfd04AY&usg=AFQjCNE2ckxkensuCXMNGrLI_J75Pl6wMg&sig2=GxB-Pixl2-i1QME9LAvSEA&bvm=bv.59378465,d.ZG4

    Report comment

  32. @ Bill Patrick
    The source you quoted showed a 70%+ increase in dividend income in 2009/10 & a 70%+ fall in such income in 2010/11, when the 50% tax was operational.
    We can of course take a defeatist attitude toward “behavioural effects” i.e., naturalise tax avoidance. I notice the government does not take an equally indulgent view of “behavioural effects” in the welfare field.

    Report comment

  33. “Whatever choices are made I believe that they will eventually result in a permanently smaller State.”
    @ TOH

    Well that has been the trend since the IMF intervention of 1976, but who can say that it will be permanent. As Niels Bohr apparently said ‘ prediction is difficult, especially about the future’.

    @ Spearmint “Convincing Ukip-Con waverers… that a Labour government wouldn’t be a total disaster might be enough to persuade them it’s safe to vote Ukip, which from Labour’s perspective is not ideal but is certainly preferable to a Tory vote.”

    Yep, makes sense. Not sure about the long-term.

    Report comment

  34. The smaller the state, the more expensive everything gets – railways, housing, healthcare, water, gas and electricity… Can we really afford a smaller state?

    Report comment

  35. What?!!!!!??

    Report comment

1 6 7 8