As well as the normal Sun voting intention poll, they also had a YouGov poll on the European elections this morning. Topline voting intention figures were CON 23%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 26%, Greens 5%. Labour in first place, UKIP in a strong second and the Conservatives in third, the Lib Dems way behind. Full tabs are here.

Looking at only those certain to vote puts UKIP in an even stronger position – they would be on 30% to Labour’s 32%. I’m somewhat cautious about European election polls more than a month or two out – in 2009 polls done in January bore very little resemblence to what the result turned out to be, with UKIP advancing strongly in teh months leading up the election (though to sonme degree that was down to the expenses scandal breaking). These figures already look very positive for UKIP.

Worth noting is if these were the results there is a chance that the Lib Dems could be wiped out. On a uniform swing this give Labour 28 MEPs, UKIP 23 MEPs, the Conservatives 15, the Greens 1, SNP 2, Plaid 1 (and three in Northern Ireland). In practice it would be very close, who gets the final seat in constituencies with a large number of MEPs can come down to fractions of percentage points and the Lib Dems would just miss out in the South East and South West, but a wipe out is a realistic possibility. (The reason, if you are wondering, for the slightly odd suggestion that the Greens could get a seat with far fewer votes than the Lib Dems is because the strongest Green region is the South East and the Lib Dems strongest region is the South West – you need fewer votes to win a seat in the South East).

Finally, for methodology anoraks amongst you, YouGov’s question prompts for all the parties in the European Parliament – so including UKIP, Green and the BNP. This is a change from 2009 that we pondered for a while. In 2004 YouGov prompted for all the parties, and overestimated UKIP support. In 2009 we only prompted for Con, Lab, Lib Dem and SNP/PC and got UKIP pretty much right (our last poll had them on 18%, in the event they got 17%). However, given they came second last time (and on that basis the broadcast media will presumably be required to give them as much coverage as Labour and the Conservatives during the run up to the election), and the media focus is very likely to be on how well UKIP do and whether they win, we thought it more appropriate to put them in the main prompt for the European elections. Peter Kellner has written more about it here.

106 Responses to “YouGov European election poll”

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  1. @ Roger,

    That seems a little harsh. The party has to have a consistent set of rules to determine under what circumstances people can be expelled. Otherwise it’s an autocracy. The Lib Dems’ standard is apparently being convicted a crime, and Rennard’s misconduct doesn’t meet that standard. You can argue that they need a more rigorous standard (I think Tim Farron has argued that) but I don’t think you can fairly argue Clegg is shielding Rennard. Rennard’s not in the Government- he doesn’t hold any position from which Clegg has the power to sack him. (Except for that manifesto writing committee he’s on, maybe? But they’re Lib Dems; my default assumption is that the committee is elected by the party somehow and neither the leader nor the president have the power to unilaterally sack its members.)

    Honestly, if I was going to be upset about Clegg’s willingness to forgive misconduct in his inner circle, I’d save it for David Laws. If you look at Laws’ 2010 election leaflets and the way he trumpeted his honesty over his expenses, the man is clearly mendacious on a scale that should bar him from Government. But I suppose pre-election pledges are not something Clegg wants to think about too closely…

  2. Roger Mexico

    Yes, Mrs H and I haven’t forgotten Jenny Tonge. I see that the Rennard issue has not got through to YG panel voters yet, judging by tonight’s poll. I doubt, honestly if it will, ever.

    I would like to speak up for Clegg on this one but, as it will be seen as partisan, I won’t.

    So, in general, if an organisation follows its own rules for dealing with disciplinary matters, is it to be castigated when the results are not what others want, or does not go down well, PR-wise?

    Take MPs salaries. an independent commission is appointed so that MPs have no influence – but see what happened when that commission reported!

  3. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead now seven points: CON 32%, LAB 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%

  4. A.I.W. “Dear Rosie and Daisie,
    Er,have we upset you,what is the matter?”

    Apparently they are not well, they are feeling a bit woof.


    “…Dear Rosie and Daisie, Er,have we upset you,what is the matter?…”

    I’m not sure “RosieAndDaisie” and “RosieAndDasieeee” are the same person

  6. @ALEC ” Labour lead now seven points:”
    No, still around 6 (or somewhere near the middle of 2 – 10 given the accuracy of the individual VI’s)

  7. @Spearmint

    “Honestly, if I was going to be upset about Clegg’s willingness to forgive misconduct in his inner circle, I’d save it for David Laws.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more and I find it utterly bewildering that he could have been allowed to return to the heart of government after what he admitted to doing. It seems to me that the punishment for expense fiddling all depended on the speed with which you paid the dosh back once your hands were caught in the till. It appeared to have nothing to do with the scale of deception or the venality of the wrong-doing. Laws is a very lucky man and his rapid return to favour should shame the Liberal Democrat party.

    As for the topic of this thread, I am in part agreement with the sentiments that Colin expressed elsewhere. The Euro elections are a charade and rank alongside the Mayoral and Police Commissioner elections in terms of sheer pointlessness. However they do have, perversely, importance in terms of domestic politics and, in one respect, I have some sympathy with the Government here. If you are a governing party, mired in unpopularity, the last thing you want is a nationwide election that will display your unpopularity in big, bright shining lights. The Tories will be dreading the Euros and local elections in May, every bit as much as UKIP and Labour will be licking their lips. Foot soldiers culled, local party organisations further hollowed out, money expended and party morale weakened. The Tories and Lib Dems will take hits at exactly the time they need to gather strength as the big one looms in May 2015. In that sense, the Euro elections matter a great deal, although the number and nature of the MEPs elected to Brussels is a matter of almost total unimportance.

    As for tonight’s poll, the train rolls on its steady and remorseless path. No junctions or buffers in sight.

  8. Spearmint

    The Party will have formal rules for expelling people from membership, but I don’t think anyone is suggesting that. The point is that Clegg has been quite willing to act autocratically in the past and indeed has been quite happy to remove the Party whip from people. Now it looks as if when it is someone from the inner circle who is being criticised, his power mysteriously vanishes and benefit of the doubt must be stretched to its limit. The same thing could be said of the case of Laws as well of course.

    Similar things could be said of the way the other Parties operate as well – for example over expenses, who you were seemed to more important that what you did. But the Lib Dem leadership has been asking an awful lot of ordinary activists over this parliament and the resultant strain not be helped by the perception that all that sacrifice and effort has been so the in-crowd can continue their gilded life. Those activists will have been putting up with a lot of jibes about ministerial cars over the last four years.

    It’s probably not the sort of thing that will affect many ordinary voters, though it might make it harder for some people to switch back into the Lib Dem column. However for some activists, facing a fourth year of losses in local elections and possible wipe-out in the Euros, it may finally be the last straw in demonstrating Clegg’s ineffectiveness in everything except suppressing his own Party’s chances. I suspect this is why there have been such a row about what has happened. It is seen as a particularly disgraceful example of how the leadership has failed.

  9. Labour nick Broadheath..

    Broadheath (Trafford MDC) Result:
    LAB – 44.6% (-1.7)
    CON – 40.8% (+1.8)
    UKIP – 7.6% (+1.4)
    LDem – 4.9% (+0.6)
    GRN – 2.2% (-2.2)

  10. @Stan J

    I don’t think it was a Labour Gain, the results for 2012 were:

    2012: Lab 1,662 (46%), Con 1,397 (39%), UKIP 221 (6%), Green 156 (4%), Lib Dem 152 (4%)

    I think that is 1.6% LAB -> CON

  11. When I said earlier that I thought YouGov using a ‘Certain to Vote’ filter was a bit harsh, I thought I’d look back to 2011 when YouGov did surveys to see what level of voting there was among their panel members.

    AV Referendum 79% voted compared to 42% in Britain as a whole.

    Welsh Assembly 81% voted compared to 42.2% of the Welsh electorate.

    Scottish parliament 87% voted compared to 50%.

    So even if we see a similar turnout of 34% in May, we should expect to find something like 70% of YouGov panelists among those voters. So using a filter that includes only 41% of the sample may be as misleading as one that includes all of those who give any preference.

  12. It was a Labour gain – the Tory had been elected in 2011..

  13. @Katie

    Thanks. People are still saying it’s a gain on the Twitter so those bracketed percentages for Lab and Con were really confusing. I thought tiredness may have been messing with my mind.

  14. The Broadheath changes shown are since the 2012 election which Labour also won – hence the confusion. The Councillor who died was actually elected in 2011 and the changes since then are:

    Con – 2.4

    Lab + 4.2

    UKIP + 2.9

    Lib Dem – 2.2

    Green – 2.4

    The ward is clearly a key marginal in what is one of the two last Met Boroughs held by the Conservatives and presumably Labour will be keen to pick up the third seat in May. There’s an interesting posting on how Labour turned a safe-ish Tory ward into a marginal on the English Elections site:

  15. I understood that Laws could have claimed the same amount of expenses legitimately but he had been trying to hide his sexuality from his family.

  16. @ Mr Nameless
    Re: Jeremy Thorpe

    It’s important to recognise that Thorpe’s star was already on the wane when the scandal broke. Though he had succesfully ridden the “plague on both their houses” wave during the miners’ strike, the resolution of the strike made the Liberal offer less interesting and his failure to do a deal with Heath in Spring ’74 alienated the Tory voters he had been wooing since becoming leader.

    If you look at AWs graph for ’74 to ’79 you’ll see a sharp drop of 4 to 5 points for the Libs from the beginning of ’76 when the Scott claims really hit the fan. But Thorpe was still, for some voters, a likeable and populist leader, and I suspect that his loss would have cost the Liberals a couple of points even without the scandal. David Steel was a lack-lustre replacement, and, as you say, his involvement in the LibLab pact lost the Liberals the good-will of the Thorpite soft right voters for good.

    In short, I’d judge the scandal-story less important than the political story.

    I suppose that if I hadn’t lived through the period I would find the electorate’s lack of response to such spectacular charges (illegal sexual liaisons, a hit man, cruelty to animals) very puzzling. But, at the time, a lot of other dramatic stuff was happening! Rennard is less of a story, but in quieter times.

  17. “I understood that Laws could have claimed the same amount of expenses legitimately but he had been trying to hide his sexuality from his family.”

    chortle. Always important for millionaires to put in expense claims on the off-chance their families have the sudden inclination to go through (and access to) all the MP’s expense claims looking to see if his boyfriend has paid rent . Not claiming anything would have been a dead giveaway!

    I think a jury would have roasted him.

  18. There is a vacancy for a proof-reader at Yougov.

  19. Yougov politics page:

    Yougov Latest YouGov / The Sun results 16th January – Con 33%, Lab 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -28

    Actual results:

    Yougov Latest YouGov / The Sun results 16th January – Con 32%, Lab 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -28

    No wonder people get confused about the numbers when the site itself puts out the wrong information.

  20. Re: Laws

    The strong suspicion is that had Laws been a Labour MP or a politically expendable Tory, he would have served time and no longer be an MP. However, he is a right-wing Lib Dem popular with both Tory and Lib Dem leadership and so it was politically important for him to return to Government asap.

    That is what annoys people.

  21. CROSSBAT11

    -As the Euros are the only election where those of us living South of the Border get to vote via a vaguely proportionate basis where individual votes actually count for something.

    The European Parliament has been significant in many of the most important changes in terms and conditions of employment ,minimum wage,guaranteed holidays etc and some really important changes in consumer protection ,reduced mobile phone tariffs,greater protection following aircraft delays etc I think you undervalue it’s importance.

    The fact that a number of our elected MEP’S choose not to participate but simply use their election as a platform for knocking the EU while merrily raking in their Euro MP pay and expenses is a different matter entirely.

  22. Osborne offered Laws a seat in the shadow cabinet in 2007.

    Chief secretary to the Treasury has responsibility for public expenditure. During those 17 days in May colleagues were awestruck by his ability to wade through the bundles of documents civil servants were dumping on their desks… there was a 50 day deadline for cutting £6 billion. One wonders what might have happened if Danny Alexander hadn’t been prepared to step into the breach.

  23. On Laws

    I think he was lucky not to have been put in front of the beak – if you read the actual report from the standards commission they were quite lenient, as were the police.

    I don’t think the allegations were as serious as those that went to court but there were a number of more high-profile MPs (from all parties) who could easily have been prosecuted to see what the view of a jury was – the authorities made this decision themselves.

    What annoys me about Laws from a parliamentary point of view is that he was suspended from the commons for a week and then was allowed back to ministerial office with never having faced the electorate once the information about him was made public – as mentioned above he did play on his supposed honesty in 2010 – I can find no other post-war wexample of a suspended MP holding ministerial office after suspension in the same Parlaiment.

    He is also popular within the establishment and he seems to get a sympathetic press because of it – I think it is the LD attitude to him, seem in the high echelons of the party and the views of members on LDV – that really turned me against them as a party.

    Hypocrisy is not something I am found of and, as seen with Rennard as well, it is something the LD leadership seem to have in spades

  24. Not that I come to praise him. Can’t stand either him or his successor, Alexander.

  25. new kind of politics?

  26. By-election in the Broadheath ward of Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council.

    Labour Party 1377 (44.6%)
    UK Independence Party 234 (7.5%)
    The Conservative Party 1258 (40.8%)
    Liberal Democrat 150 (4.9%)
    Green Party 67 (2.2%)
    LAB gain from CON.
    The overall turnout was 30.3 per cent.

    Now this is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, that’s a phenomenal turnout for a council by-election. Labour’s problem has often been getting out its vote, and I would venture that helped swing it for them.

    As this seat is adjacent to Wythenshawe and Sale East, that bodes well for Labour if they’ve got an activist base nearby that’s capable of serious GOTV work.

    Third, it’s a remarkably bad result for UKIP. Of course, the fact that Altrincham is moderately well-off and that they found out about the by-election ‘by accident’ won’t have helped. However, with the result that tight, Tories may still curse even that small UKIP squeeze.

    No serious decline for the Tories (got 46 there in the last election I recall) but enough to allow Labour through on a moderate boost.

    Trafford is one of only two MBCs in Tory control – they hold it with a majority of three, and this hasn’t helped them.

    Labour/Tory supporters have some of the Sheffield Labour Students to thank/blame for their campaigning here.

  27. “Osborne offered Laws a seat in the shadow cabinet in 2007.”

    Possibly after reading Britain After Blair (2006) in which Laws set out his plans to cut spending and reduce the size of the public sector.

  28. Since it was discussed before:

    Retail sales up 5.3% in Dec over last year.

  29. “The European Parliament has been significant in many of the most important changes in terms and conditions of employment ,minimum wage,guaranteed holidays etc”

    Really? I seem to remember the catalyst for minimum wage was the Labour victory of 1997, not the EU telling the UK they had to do it.

    This is one of my main gripes with the EU – they are quite happy to claim the credit for anything nice happening in Europe, but falls suspiciously silent when the EU-backed austerity does its worst in southern Europe.

  30. Depressing figures; if UKIP wins their goes our economy and world status.

  31. @Nick P

    ” think a jury would have roasted him.”

    Crikey, I hope you don’t mean that in the same way that a Premiership footballer might take it to mean! lol


    “As the Euros are the only election where those of us living South of the Border get to vote via a vaguely proportionate basis where individual votes actually count for something.”

    I was maybe a bit harsh in my opinions on the importance of the Euro elections and any exercise in democracy, however low the participation, is to be valued and respected. It could well be that more is achieved by the European Parliament than most people realise, and the fact that the rabidly anti EU press continually traduce the institution doesn’t help in that respect, but there does seem to be a widespread feeling that the elections have little effect on people’s lives. When that sentiment is abroad, the incentive to participate is low or non-existent. I fear that feeling of alienation from the process may be starting to creep into Westminster elections too.


    You make some good points about the Thorpe case and your reference to both him and the trial brings back striking memories of that rumbustious political time. His eventual acquittal in the sensational Scott trial was down to the skill of his defence barrister, the brilliant George Carman QC, the implausibility of some of the prosecution witnesses ( the former colourful Liberal MP Peter Bessell, particularly) and, at the end of the day, Thorpe’s personal popularity. The jury were seduced by his reputation and charisma and while they may well have suspected his guilt, stopped short of his conviction.

    The Scott case apart, I always rather admired Jeremy Thorpe, particularly the principled and selfless stand he took in deciding that he couldn’t enter into a coalition agreement with Heath in February 1974. This was at enormous cost to himself and his party, depriving himself of a Cabinet seat and denying the Liberals the first chance of government in 60 years. He didn’t feel it was the right thing to do, either politically or personally, and, sadly in my view, he rather disappeared from the scene thereafter. His later life was characterised by scandal and almost continual personal tragedy.

  32. Survation(change since poll Jan 5th)

    CON 30% (-1%)
    LAB 34% -1%)
    LD 12% (+1%)
    UKIP 18% (+2)

  33. @Fraser

    Indeed. The retailers are as in the habit of poor-mouthing at Christmas time as furniture stores are at putting up “50% off” signs. It’s becoming part of the Christmas system.

    There is (was?) an art/print shop in Aberdeen that had ‘closing down sale’ signs for years at a time. It must have been a stressful job. :))

  34. ‘Crikey, I hope you don’t mean that in the same way that a Premiership footballer might take it to mean! lol’

    Yikes…. (horrified smiley thingy)

  35. ‘@Fraser

    “Retail sales up 5.3% in Dec over last year.”

    That’s very interesting given all our discussions on here of up or down and loads of mixed messages from the press. Obviously a good figure in the end.

  36. Populus –

    LAB 40
    CON 33
    LIB 13
    UKIP 9

    Decent for Lab and Lib, bad for UKIP, meh for Cons. But then the weighting to past habits will help LDs and hurt UKIP.

  37. The urban waste water treatment directive (plus other measures regarding sulphur emissions/acid rain etc) saved countless lives and massively improved the quality of our rivers and beaches.

    Unfortunately 20,000 combined sewer overflow pipes (CSO), intended for use in very rare occasions, were excluded from the legislation.

    Councils tend to conduct their water quality tests weekly. It’s my suspicion that some water companies check the rota (it’s on the council website). A Panorama investigation raised concerns about routine spillage of untreated wastes around Britain’s coastline from these CSOs.


    The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 In the UK introduced by the Labour Government mirrored

    DIRECTIVE 96/71/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 16 December 1996 as did the adopted legislation in other EU Member countries.

    It was of course up to the Member Countries own legislators to decide to introduce a Minimum wage or not.

    So we are both right which is nice!

  39. ONS December retail figures have exceeded expectations – up 2.6% on the month, 5.3% on the year, but a very modest 0.4% quarterly figures.

    This is particularly interesting, as Visa found sales down 2.2% on the month, and account for a third of all sales. Clearly there are data anomalies, but this helps settle the position on general economic trends.

  40. @Jack

    “if UKIP wins their goes our economy and world status.”

    The same gets said about the Independence referendum ‘Yes’ vote. Is it worth keeping (the status quo), if the ‘ruling elite’ are not producing the goods?

    Will Dahlgreen’s post on class shows that 46% of polled folk see themselves as working class, while they see leaders as middle or upper. Indeed, Miliband is seen as the most middle class of the bunch, and strangely this is being painted as a positive electioneering thing.

    This is my interpretation. 46% of the electorate are saying “You don’t represent us” to the main four parties (Nigel Farage is seen as working class by 6% and leads the working class poll with that paltry amount).

    Perhaps that’s what happens when most kids are being sent to university and immigrants are being brought in to prop up the lower paying jobs.

    I doubt that the middle class thing that Miliband is chasing will be all that helpful to him, short of there being a far larger intention to vote from the class he chasing.

  41. Here’s another funny thing – the proportion of retail sales made online decreased by 0.2% in December. I bet that’s caught a few commentators out.

  42. Yes December retail figures quite stunning. Not at all clear what’s happening and must be very concerning for the likes of Debenhams and Morrisons (and Visa it seems – really bizarre)

  43. “This is my interpretation. 46% of the electorate are saying “You don’t represent us” to the main four parties (Nigel Farage is seen as working class by 6% and leads the working class poll with that paltry amount).”

    Actually, this does give an interesting paradox. Farage and Cameron both have as un-working class backgrounds as can be, and yet Farage is hoovering up support from people who consider Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Clegg to be out of touch with the working class.

    We can argue about the reasons all day, but the short lesson is that it’s not as simple as the idea that only politicians with working-class roots can appeal to the working class. The reality is much more complicated.

  44. Ipsos-Mori:

    Lab 39 (+2)
    Con 30 (-3)
    Lib 13 (+4)
    UKIP 11 (+1)

    As Mike Smithson says, it feels like a General Election with all these polls.

  45. Labour’s play on banks is a critical intervention I would say. It sounds a natural target, which in principle would attract support, but there are plenty of voices claiming the policy is counterproductive and unworkable. Mark Carney is one of them, in what was probably the most shockingly political involvement by a central banker we’ve seen for a long while. If Labour win in 2015, he will have problems. He’s really not into attacking the banking sector, and I would expect nothing less from a former Goldman Sachs man.

    The dynamics of this appear to be very similar to the energy price pledge – it sounds fine, getting some voter support (less I think for bank break up than energy prices) but gets panned by ‘experts’. Big questions over implementation, but it grabs the agenda and gets Labour looking lively.

    As with the energy pledge, where the really significant bit was the pledge t reform the industry, not the price freeze, here the short term proposal – selling off branches – is the key media focus, rather then the idea of large scale sector reform.

    It will be interesting to see if Labour have clear ideas on how they want to do this. My suspicion is that are far too many barriers put in the way of new retail banks, which is why we rarely see new names appear on the high street, other than through takeovers. The industry itself is to blame in some ways – banks have lobbied furiously to prevent a loosening of restrictions on credit unions for example, for the simple reason that they can take market share while offering consumers a better deal. Overall though, retail banking regulation is designed for the existing mega banks, effectively excluding new small banks, which is really what the industry needs. Without fresh blood, the sector atrophies.

    If Labour get to the point where we can permit small retail banks to open with a less stifling regulatory framework, moving into the much more complex regulatory requirements once certain turnover thresholds are met, then I think we could see benefit in forcing market share limits on the big banks. The idea of regional banks, and sector specialists, like small business banks, could really come into play.

    Finally, I’d like to see progress made on fraud in the banking sector, otherwise known as ‘miss selling’. To date I think we’ve had around £15b on PPI, £2b on interest rate swaps, and now £1.3b on credit card insurance, a total of £18.3b of banks fraudulently taking customers money. I’m still struggling to understand why we are not seeing large numbers of bank executives in prison for what would amount to criminal behaviour in most normal people’s eyes, so perhaps Labour could address this.

    Perhaps they could ask that nice Mr Carney if he thinks bankers should take direct personal responsibility for this?

  46. When it comes to political expediency rules go out the window with the LDs. Witness the unsavoury sight of them doing absolutely nothing about Brian Greenslade standing for Police Commissioner in the SW as an Independent against the official LD candidate. He still hasn’t been expelled – probably because he’s the only one holding the LDs together in North Devon. Pathetic.

  47. @Alec

    As these figures contradict every other indicator they might be suspect.

  48. @Guymonde

    I think the tell tale sign comes from Argos and John Lewis; online purchases and in retail pick up are a growing market. This to me is hugely positive; we’re going to end up with a very mixed retail market which is fantastic for consumers and fantastic for retailers.

    Where did the extra spend come from? Increase in the Tax Allowance came into effect this year, and house price increase alongwith general confidence probably led to lower saving and high borrowing. I’d suggest.

    Tax Allowance taking affect and lower inflation seem to be somewhat significant economic factors. Plus employment continues to rise.

  49. The Tory response to Miliband’s speech is very odd. It appears to be attacking something completely different, addresses none of the specifics and just looks like it was written from some Big Bumper Book Of Anti-Labour Cliches without the author actually listening to the speech at all. There is a growing suspicion that the Tory attack plan is too simplistic and I think it’s showing here. It isn’t making enough of a dent in Labour VI and I wonder if the current tack will be sustained through the election.

    Crosby must surely realise that if he ‘masterminds’ yet another Tory defeat, this time against an eminently beatable Opposition, his career as a serious political strategist is over, at least in the UK.

    The Greens’ attack is at least more coherent and suggests whoever wrote it had at least bothered to listen to what Miliband had to say – not that I think ripping up the entire finance sector is necessarily a sensible response.

  50. @Wolf – “As these figures contradict every other indicator they might be suspect.”

    I don’t think so. There were plenty of positive numbers, along with plenty of negatives. The footfall numbers were particularly bad, but they don’t necessarily match spending. One other point to watch is the interplay between volumes and prices – the heavy discounting might mean healthy sales, but some stressed balance sheets, as BDO are predicting.

    @Fraser – “Where did the extra spend come from?” I think talking about the £200 tax allowance is scrapping around for a political bonus to be honest – since April, families have lost far more than that with the shrinkage in real earnings, so I think this is largely irrelevant.

    I think you’re identifying of reduced savings and higher credit is probably much closer to the mark, which isn’t great news. This is the reason why I’ve been saying that the combined December and January figures will be most significant. Given the quarterly picture in December is only showing extremely weak growth, if Christmas was on credit. the January picture might show just how confidence translates into actual spending power.

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