YouGov’s first post-budget poll is in this morning’s Sun. Topline voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%. Five point Labour lead is broadly normal, though obviously you want to have several polls to get an idea of whether an event has had any impact, you cannot judge on one alone.

On budget and economic questions most of the specific measures in the budget are approved of, but then, they normally are. Income tax cuts and cuts in taxes on savings and so on all get the majority support you’d expect. The the rule change on annuities is supported by 66% of people, opposed by 8%, with 26% saying don’t know. The bingo tax cut is actually the only one that gets more opposition than support – 31% support, 38% oppose.

As I wrote earlier in the week though, budgets are more than the sum of their parts. It’s not really whether people approve of all the fiddly little bits, it’s the overall perception of the budget that counts. On that front, it seems to be a thumbs up so far. 47% think the budget was fair, 26% unfair – YouGov ask that same question after every budget and this is the most positive since 2010. 26% think the budget will leave the country better off, 15% worse off (again, significantly better than last year – net positive this year is plus 11, last year it was minus 10). 21% think it will leave them personally better off, 18% worse off (net score of plus 3, compared to minus 20 last year).

Of course, this is just an instant response – YouGov’s fieldwork runs from about 5pm to 3pm the next day, so many of the people responding wouldn’t have seen how the budget was reported on the evening news or the next day’s newspapers. Give it a couple of days before making any firm conclusions.


190 Responses to “First YouGov post-budget poll”

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  1. @NickP

    Despite what certain sections of the press might like you to think, austerity has very little to do with the student loan issue. The fundamental problem is that the Government didn’t know enough about graduate career progression (nobody does) and so there is no way to introduce a policy like this without significant risk. It was the most difficult kind of gamble to pull off – a gamble where the gambler thought they were in possession of special knowledge but found out that they weren’t after the bet had been laid.

  2. @OldNat

    I’m not sure what Labour’s student fees policy is in Scotland.

  3. @Colin: “The current policy IS a graduate tax.”

    No, it isn’t. It’s not a tax at all – it’s repayment of a loan with the rate of repayment related to income. Once (if) your own loan is repaid you stop making payments.

    Under a graduate tax you pay a higher rate of tax – if you earn more, you pay more and continue to do so as long as you continue to earn. Repayments don’t stop because they aren’t repayments. It’s a progressive form of taxation but only applied to graduates.

  4. @Alec

    Nick Hillman certainly feels the same way as you do about Labour’s policy and he is a smart man. However, the reduced debt reduces interest payments (which under the current system start at RPI plus a bit as soon as you take the loan out) and reduces the total amount paid back by at least a third, which significantly reduces RAB.

    Personally, I think HE is a vital public economic good and should be funded appropriately. If the Government starts to back mass apprenticeships effectively, will there be fees to pay for them? Should we charge for A-levels? What makes university special that we have to charge young people to ensure that they can support the economy in the manner to which we have become accustomed? The Germans have done away with university tuition fees.

  5. “@ bluebob

    Does anybody expect Labour to go in to the GE with a meaningful manifesto.? ”

    Yes of course they will. It will be the same as other elections.

    Do manifestos actually mean anything to most voters ? How many actually read them, before the election ? If they don’t read them, how do they find out about the policies contained in manifestos ?

    Do people actually trust what parties say in manifestos ?

    On the 7th May 2015, the swing voters who will decide the election, will go with their gut feeling, as to which party will best govern the country in the interests of their families and themselves. I think it is currenty difficult to predict which way most of the swing votes will go. Have the coalition done enough in most parts of the country ? Do people trust Miliband to lead a competent Labour government ?

    I think the 2015 election will be a lot closer than polls currently predict. Any mistakes near election day, could make a lot of difference.

  6. Alec,

    “HMRC has enough problems deciding what people’s income is today, so I doubt universities would welcome having to establish what would in effect be their own revenue assessment operations,”

    Since data on income is already collected by the state, it wouldn’t be necessary for universities to double the operation. Of course, HMRC data is fallible, but if this is an argument against university bonds, it’s also an argument against income taxation itself.

    “and the idea of negotiating at 18 on the basis of future earnings is difficult for all concerned.”

    Unless we’re going to outlaw debt for 18-year olds, this is unavoidable.

    “Defaults would still be an option – legally it’s very hard to see how these tings could be enforced overseas, so risk would be transferred to universities – again, something they would not appreciate.”

    Default risk exists across all markets. A university that orders pencils from a supplier must face the problem of that supplier not providing; this doesn’t mean that the state should step in and have a special policy for pencil suppliers to universities, just because universities might like that.

    As for enforcement overseas, it wouldn’t be more problematic than enforcing tuition fees overseas, except insofar as people moved to countries that don’t collect usable data on personal incomes (in such a case, a lump-sum fee could be an option).

    “Business repeatedly calls for better numbers and quality of graduates, but at present is the one part on the university benefit triangle that isn’t being called on to contribute. Again.”

    Businesses already pay for graduates, and tend to pay the very wages graduates use to pay their tuition fees.

    I don’t see how adding a third-tier of funding simplifies the system (or how making it more expensive to hire graduates is a good idea given the problem of graduate unemployment and the atrocious current problem with youth unemployment generally) but I agree that it the system is too complex: it’s a web of cost/benefit analyses based on unmeasurable quantities, questionable social contracts, and intrigue between representatives of different groups (universities, students, taxpayers) for slices of the pie. In my view, a very typical social democratic mess.

  7. PHIL HAINES

    Semantics-unless you are suggesting retrospective charges for older graduates who never paid.

    We just need some honesty & openness in the debate.

    Whatever unrecoverable loans turn out to be the Treasury will pick the tab up-and all taxpayers will pay.

    Is the cost of HE to be shared by taxpayer & graduates?
    If yes-in what proportions.?

    Then it is just a matter of devising a scheme which WILL recover the proportion allocated to graduates.

    Looks like this one has failed because the tax progression wasn’t steep enough.

    Current top repayment rate is 9% of salary over £21k pa.

  8. ROGERH

    @”Under a graduate tax you pay a higher rate of tax – if you earn more, you pay more”

    That is how it works :-

    https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/repayments

    It is a hypothecated tax.

    But they appear to have overestimated the numbers who would fall into the repayment schedule.

    So we will all pay now, because the TReasury will keep picking up the tab for unrecovered debt, or they will sell the loan book at a huge discount to book value.

    I was thinking about drama graduates-there must be lots.

    How many of them are serving behind a bar for years on end , earning a pittance-and how many have hit the big time & are earning huge sums of money?

  9. “Labour will support the Government’s overhaul of pensions, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has said.
    Rachel Reeves said more detail was needed on what the reforms would mean “in practice” but said she supports the changes, announced in Wednesday’s budget.
    Speaking on Radio 4’s Any Questions last night, she said the current pensions and annuities market “does not work well for people who have saved all their lives”.

    Politics Home

  10. I posted on the previous thread how fiscal drag will see the write off rate fall as real incomes rise over time and the threshold only rises in line with inflation.

  11. Simpler system for funding higher education?

    Give every 18 year old a higher education and fees grant. Any kid can have it and spend it on an approved scheme, which will include apprenticeships, special courses for those with problems preventing them from getting started in life, and yes, extending the facility to those in prison, the lot. Fitting out young people for maximising their potential in life is as valuable a social service as building roads and financing a police force.

    Of course the above does mean truly redistributive wealth taxation, but people simply won’t be able to keep on fudging this issue (it’s impractical, we’re not used to it, the very rich won’t like it) for ever. Society goes the neo-liberal way to perdition – and that now means serious perdition, the very rich retreating like Nebuchadnezzars into their gardened palaces, while the rest make ends meet outside of the walls – or it becomes what it had a fleeting chance of becoming in the immediate post-1945 period, a society.

  12. JIM JAM

    A fair point-but according to the reports, Budgets assumed a 28% write off of the annual student loan of £10bn.

    Willetts has apparently said it looks more like 45% now.

    Of course things may change-but the difference between those figures is £1.7 bn pa
    London Economics reckons that when it reaches 48.6% write off, the costs to taxpayer equate to the previous system.

  13. Is this a toe in the water of ‘silly ideas’?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26692400

    “Sovereignty over defence should be removed from nation states and handed to a European defence force, a Labour MSP has said.”

    “The North East Scotland MSP went on: “The idea of taking defence out of the hands of nation states appeals to me.”

    I’ll have what she’s smoking.

  14. I fail to see why university (or college) education should not be paid for out of general taxation. It’s a public good. To the extent that we think Media Studies (or whatever) graduates are not a public good, taxation shouldn’t pay for them. Fee rates charged by universities can be negotiated with bigger fees for better (or more costly) courses.
    The current ‘market’ is a joke: only market-obsessed twaddlers can believe it is working.

  15. COLIN DAVIS

    @”Give every 18 year old a higher education and fees grant. Any kid can have it and spend it on an approved scheme”

    The Free Money philosophy again.

    In HE it would remove any sense of “ownership” from students , and any need to respond to demands for value from the providers.

    The result would be more & more “courses” in which the taxpayer funds three expensive years sitting in a Library , with little sign of a tutorial anywhere.

  16. I have a brilliant idea. Why don’t we just seize the existing wealth of all the really rich people to pay for education? They are talented entrepreneurs. They’ll soon get rich again. And whilst they are doing so, the economy will benefit even more from all their innovations & the jobs which they create. And, given they are talented, go-ahead optimists, they’ll enjoy the challenge. ;-)

  17. Reflecting on the Fisher model of how polling figures relate to what happens in General Elections (last thread) it seems to me there’s an interesting model available for the thinking on forums like this one, and indeed in Fisher’s own academic circle, in that there is a constant and strenuous effort made to apologise for the support the left commands, and to be endlessly inventive in imagining ways both to explain that support away and to conceive of ways in which the Don’t Knows will rise from the ocean like Krakens and devour it anyway.

    There are indeed opposing philosophies of the left and the right, and in most eras the philosophy of the right can hire and arm a sufficient army of foot soldiers to preserve itself. In dire times, however, that army is hired at a terrible social cost (a para-political possibility that we all should dread,) but dire times do also expose the fact that money and goods don’t vanish in recessions: they simply pass into fewer and fewer hands. The left need not be deferential or apologetic. They just need to remain cool.

  18. Was the old system of means-tested grants and tuition fees so bad? I know the argument was that there wasn’t the money to scale it up to larger graduate numbers but was that really true? Is the present system really cheaper or is it just that it keeps the costs off the Treasury books?

  19. @Colin Davis

    I have enormous sympathy with your view about the damage that 30 years of neo-liberalism has done to the common weal. The steely-eyed purveyors of efficiency abound everywhere, apart from in the boardrooms of banks, and cost effectiveness, competition and value for money have become empty euphemist alibis for an ideologically based dismantling of anything that looks or feels like collective or state provision. This provides the perfect backcloth to sustained campaigns of denigration against the health service, state education and the BBC, all organisations accused of cheating and robbing honest and hard-working Joe the Taxpayer.

    Joe, so we’re told, wants to keep more of his hard earned money and pay as little tax as he can. He still wants good state schools for his children though, and a health service he can rely on, as well as decent roads, policing, transport and a solid pension when he retires. The job of the modern politician is to delude Joe that he can be satisfied on all these counts. A circle that cannot be squared but you just watch all our politicians try and persuade the voters that it can in May 2015.

    A dishonest debate, really.

  20. Got to go shopping, Colin, so I’m not ducking you, but briefly to say all things always were free to those who took them for themselves. I grant you “he who draws the water from the well is entitled to the using of it” (and it’s years since I read Locke, so that’s NOT an accurate quotation) but he who seizes the well for himself messes and then charges all the other hes and shes for drawing from it, is messing that philosophy about big time.

    Locke was in a dilemma there (if I remember correctly) seeing he also believed that he who keeps the well clean and tills the land had a right to seize it, so he neatly added the proviso that God abhors waste of all kinds – so accumulating goods you don’t need was abhorrent to him. Locke should have had the balls to challenge the philosophy of property head on, but he was not of that age. (And forgive me, experts on Locke, if I have got that stuff wrong, just say and I’ll read it again!)

  21. Just showered and going, but excellently put, Crossbat, indeed.

    I won’t say brilliant argument, because it’s not good for two people who agree with each other to substantiate their views by referring to the other one, but most excellently put all the same – and I don’t think even those who disagree with us would argue with that.

  22. COLIN

    Thanks

    To the extent that I followed any of that ,……….Im guessing that I probably disagree with it.

    If Capital Taxes is your weapon of choice, I leave you with a small crumb of comfort from this “Conservative” CoE.

    In 2013 Capital Taxes were the 7th largest contributor to total tax revenue. By 2018 they will be fourth.with receipts rising from £20bn to £36bn.
    In 2018 Capital Taxes will be 5% of total tax revenues-the largest share since-wait for it-1978.
    Over the next five years they will have increased proportionately by more than any other levy.

    Reasons-fiscal drag on IHT-estates caught will double over the period.

    Stamp Duty Higher Rates & Annual levies ( Corporate held properties)-average SD rate will double from 1.7% to 3%.

    Not as big as you would wish, I feel sure, but our Chancellor is travelling in your direction :-)

  23. CB11

    @” He still wants good state schools for his children though, and a health service he can rely on, as well as decent roads, policing, transport and a solid pension ”

    As to the first two, I feel confident that the “neo-liberals” ( whoever they are) will have a good story to tell come the day.

    Decent Roads??-probably not -too many potholes-but I believe one of the Neo-liberals has found money for this.

    Decent Policing?………hmmmm

    Decent Transport ?-not such a good story from the NeoLiberals perhaps.

    A “solid pension” -well whatever gets & keeps you in a Public Sector job is the objective there.

  24. “@ crossbat11

    A dishonest debate, really.”

    Excellent comment, which really does sum up current politics.

    The other point, is that politicians don’t have much affect on the economic cycle. Gordon Brown must really regret saying ‘ an end to boom and bust’, because political oppponents will be using this for decades to come.

    The UK will always be hit hard by financial crisis, because of the city of London finance centre. If there is a major failure in a financial instituition in the US, France or Germany, it will hurt the UK. If there is any problem affecting commodities markets, it will hurt the UK.

    Going forward, any government will have to broaden the UK’s economic base, so that the London finance hub does not dominate. There will have to be major investment in the whole of the UK, with incentives to get major manufacturing companies to base themselves here. Some of the carbon taxes will have to looked at again, so the UK can be competitive.

    When you are a growing country, you have no choice but to invest, as you need to create the jobs and all the infrastructure that comes with it e,g housing, schools, hospitals, transport. All governments will try to get as much private sector investment as possible, but where necessary government will have to borrow to invest. Making cuts to basic public sector spending, should be carefully managed, to ensure that they do not have undesirable impacts.

  25. @Colin
    “Semantics-unless you are suggesting retrospective charges for older graduates who never paid.”

    Such as D Cameron, G Osborne, N Clegg, E Miliband and so on…..

    Yes, that would be my definition of a graduate tax. A small contribution from all graduates now earning over a certain threshold rather than a huge contribution from current undergraduates alone.

  26. @ R Huckle

    I agree 100% in that it will be closer than people think.

    I honestly believe that the Conservatives will hold a small lead come election day.

    The coalition have not come up with any real feel good policies as of yet but the gap continues to narrow.

    I know many disagree with me on this but I am confident enough to put my money where my mouth is and stake rather large sums on a Tory government come may 2015.

  27. @Bill Patrick – the argument about business already paying for HE and graduates getting higher earnings because of it is a bit circular. If graduates are getting higher wages, then they too are paying for their education – through higher taxes.

    I still think the University Bonds idea is a typically complex, theoretical think tank wonk type of thing, and completely unnecessary. Essentially they say a 2% charge on future graduate earnings would cover FE costs.

    So why not just place a 2% charge on future graduate earnings? Why bother with a complex and expensive bond system?

    The problem with the current loan scheme is both the repayment rate (9% is a really high marginal rate – lets remember all those Laffer Curvers out there who think the 5% differential between the 40% and 45% rate is too great) and the £21,000 threshold is too high.

    Why not just stick 2% on the tax code of graduates? It would be much more bearable for graduates themselves, would kick in much earlier, and would pay much more for FE. Once you remove the naff idea of individual borrowing for education, with the additional accumulated interest adding to the burden, and the loan management adding to the administration costs, you reduce the entire cost of the system and go back to a good, old fashioned, highly efficient mechanism for raising public spending.

    I still think businesses could contribute by adding 0.25% onto NI contributions for graduates or similar – again, cheap and efficient.

    We seem to be inventing ever more complex answers to what really is a very simple issue.

  28. COLIN DAVIES

    @”There are indeed opposing philosophies of the left and the right,”

    I think this has been the most constructive remark this morning.

    Nonsense like this ” The steely-eyed purveyors of efficiency abound everywhere, apart from in the boardrooms of banks, and cost effectiveness, competition and value for money have become empty euphemist alibis for an ideologically based dismantling of anything that looks or feels like collective or state provision. ” is mere hyperbole designed to polarise & exaggerate differences which should be discussed in reasonable language , near the centre & not at the poles. The only response to this sort of stuff is to reach for a Thesaurus oneself.

    Equally, talk of “seizure of wealth” merely prompts amusing thoughts of a Tumbril & Scaffold Tax & whether it would be levied on the “users” , or the general taxpayer because of the “common good” it funds .

    Returning to your point, I am reminded of a piece on DP yesterday in which Jesse Norman was interviewed about his biography of Edmund Burke. Norman described why Burke had supported the American Revolution, but opposed the French Revolution.
    It seemed to me, listening to Norman that that stance embodied a core difference in political philosophy , which is still recognisable today -certainly on UKPR this morning!

    I don’t know enough about Burke & must buy the book.

  29. “@ bluebob

    @ R Huckle

    I agree 100% in that it will be closer than people think.

    I know many disagree with me on this but I am confident enough to put my money where my mouth is and stake rather large sums on a Tory government come may 2015.”

    Your money to lose ! I have a feeling that it will almost be a dead heat between Labour and Tories. Labour will gain say 30 seats and the Tories will lose about the same number. It could then be up to the Lib Dems to choose who they will back to form a government. I suppose Cameron could refuse to resign and say to the Lib Dems, form another coalition or the Tories will go it alone as a minority administration. Of course this would not work and there would probably be another election within 12 months.

    The outcome of the 2015 election could be much more messy that in 2010. Many Tories and Lib Dems will not want another coaltion together. The UK public may also not want another coalition.

  30. There seems to be an assumption in the circles of high politics (at least the right half of the circle, but I suspect most of it) that old people are highly responsible and will spend their new windfall wisely, whereas young people are wasters who will be only too happy to fritter away 3 years in the library and SU bar studying some soft social science to no purpose.

    I actually believe (by and large) that the opposite is true.

  31. I see there are lots more ideas from those to the left of politics this morning. I have a good idea from the right.. Why not double the tax of all those who want Governments to spend more so that they can have the pleasure of seeing their own money spent as they wished.

  32. @R Huckle
    ‘I suppose Cameron could refuse to resign and say to the Lib Dems, form another coalition or the Tories will go it alone as a minority administration. Of course this would not work and there would probably be another election within 12 months.’

    I don’t follow your logic there. If Cameron behaved as you suggest – though I doubt that he would! – a minority Tory Govt would fail to survive the vote on the Queen’s Speech. Miliband would then be asked to form a Govt.

  33. Re HE funding. Back in the 1950s,60s and 70s graduates were much more of an elitist minority yet no plans have been considered for recouping the expenses incurred by the vast majority who did not go to university at that time.I would see nothing unreasonable in a proposal to reduce the Personal Allowance of those who graduated before – say- 1995 by £1000 a year.
    At the end of the day we paid nothing – or very little – for degrees which were significantly more valuable than those given out to the debt-laden students of today. A 2.1 has for over 20 years been the’normal’ degree and no longer stands out – back in the 60s,70s and probably 80s it was seen as quite an achievement. It’s widely known that most of those getting a 2.1 today would not have managed more than a 2.2 before the mid-80s. Likewise for First class degrees and 2.1s.

  34. Wouldn’t the 2011 fixed term parliament act need to be repealed first before a 2nd (early) election is called at the whim of the current PM?

    That might not be possible without an actual majority.

  35. @AMBER STAR
    I have a brilliant idea. ….

    Henry VIII had that idea too and it didn’t quite work out as planned then either….

  36. Four Council by elections were held yesterday, a total of 3258 people cast their votes. The percentages for the parties were as follows;

    Conservative 34
    LibDem 20
    Labour 17
    Independent 17
    Ukip 12

    It’s a small sample but on these figures alone it’s good for the Conservatives, great for the LibDems, terrible for Labour, good for independents and disappointing for Ukip.

    Of the seats they stood in Ukip averaged 16%, the libdems 27% and Independents 34%.

  37. “@ Graham

    @R Huckle

    I don’t follow your logic there. If Cameron behaved as you suggest – though I doubt that he would! – a minority Tory Govt would fail to survive the vote on the Queen’s Speech. Miliband would then be asked to form a Govt.”

    Our system does not work that way, as far as I am aware. The Queen cannot invite Miliband to form another government until Cameron had resigned. The Tories led by Cameron may feel that they have not lost an election where they finished with the same number of seats as Labour, but had a larger share of the vote.

    If you remember in 2010, the media were having a go at Brown for not resigning, when in fact the cabinet secretary had asked him not to do so, until the Lib Dems and Tories had agreed that they could form a government. Brown then resigned and Cameron was invited to form the government.

    On 8th May 2015, we could have a very messy election outcome, with the new government not being known for days. Both Labour and Tories will no doubt be saying ahead of the election that they want the public to give them a majority, not another coalition agreed behind closed doors.

  38. “Of course this would not work and there would probably be another election within 12 months.”

    Yes and no. Probably wouldn’t work but Cameron has no right to a second election. I can’t see the LibDems forcing a minority Labour administration out in favour of another expensive election.

  39. Personally I will go with the current polling of the day, at the moment that predicts a Labour majority; I also believe the current polling models are far more accurate than yesteryears, or gut feelings… just based on current poling.

    I also think if the elections this year confirm the current polling then there will be a little panic, if the gaps hold or spread wider…ouch

  40. “The Queen cannot invite Miliband to form another government until Cameron had resigned.”

    Which he will do once he loses a confidence vote. There will be no second election until Labour has had the opportunity to put together a government.

  41. @ John Murphy
    “Henry VIII had that idea too and it didn’t quite work out as planned then either….”

    What didn’t work out about the idea?

  42. @ Colin
    “A “solid pension” -well whatever gets & keeps you in a Public Sector job is the objective there.”

    Ah! . . .The Politics of Envy
    Which the PM condemns every Wednesdy;
    But there will always be tensions,
    Bout the vexed subject of pensions;
    Scorn not those in the Private Sector
    Who chose the wrong Retirement Vector;
    Their exigent money pots are vegetative,
    Their real rates of return are negative;
    Such vaunted market forces are cruel,
    Forcing them to sup ever on Gruel,
    Ah! …. The politics of Envy,
    Which the PM condemns every Wednesdy

  43. RogerH is correct.

    In a scenario where there is a hung Parliament David Cameron has the absolute right to continue as Prime Minister of a minority government. The PM is the PM until they resign, and has the choice of waiting for Parliament to reconvene and trying to get Queen’s speech passed.

    However, if he was defeated in that Queen’s speech he couldn’t just call a second election, Miliband would have his chance to try and form a government.

    Prior to the Fixed Term Parliament Act this was all a rather murky matter of convention – the PM obviously had the right to request a dissolution, but it is the personal prerogative of the monarch and there are circumstances where a wise sovereign would reject the request (set out in the Lascelles Principles in a pseudonymous letter to the Times in 1950). This would have arguably been such a situation – we know from Peter Hennessey’s book on the office of PM that the palace would, for example, have refused a second dissolution request from Heath after February 1974.

    The Fixed Term Parliament Act has made things much clearer. David Cameron no longer has the right to ask the monarch for a dissolution. If he lost a vote on a matter of confidence, other parties could seek to form a government and get a vote of confidence passed by the Commons, so Miliband would have a chance.

    The only circumstances where there would be a rapid second election would be if a minority government fell AND all alternative attempts to form a government also failed (or if two-thirds of Parliament voted for one, but that would obviously require the willing co-operation of other parties)

  44. Thanks AW

    We could be going back over this topic in 14 months time !

    I think it could be a struggle to form a coalition. The time taken to gain an agreement could be longer next time around. The Lib Dems may have learnt from their last experience.

    If there is a Labour/Lib Dem negotiation, I am hoping that a referendum on changing the general election voting system to PR is on the table. Not sure whether there is a majority of Labour supporters in favour of this. I don’t think the Tories would consider this, after the outcome of the AV referendum.

  45. @Mr Beeswax.

    Don’t get too excited. It is not half as good for the tories as you suggest. On average their vote has dropped 6.65% since May 2011, whereas Labour’s vote has increased by 6%. A swing of over 6% for Labour . . . now if that was replicated at the general election . .

  46. @ Jim (The Other One)

    So you say you will not try to predict what the polls will be, but then go and predict a panic if the polling was not what one party had expected.

  47. @ TOH

    If people & corporations got to choose how their taxes were spent (as opposed to choosing not to pay them), it would be interesting to see whether there would be winning & losing categories or whether it would actually even out; would this make people & corporations less resentful about paying? I think it might.

    e.g. If you prefer defence/Trident to pensions & welfare, you could choose to fund defence/Trident. It would be interesting to have a survey of tax-payers to look into this.

    I think providing information to taxpayers about what their taxes pay for has been mooted in the past but I don’t think that there’s ever been a plan to ask what their preferences are.

  48. @ John Murphy

    Henry VIII had that idea too and it didn’t quite work out as planned then either….
    ————-
    But Henry VIII couldn’t do it by electronic transfer. Now they’ve loads in the bank… & click… & now they don’t. Now they own lots of shares… & click… & now they don’t. etc. etc.

  49. ‘It’s a small sample but on these figures alone it’s good for the Conservatives, great for the LibDems, terrible for Labour, good for independents and disappointing for Ukip’

    I am afraid such figures are meaningless without taking account of the areas concerned. As it happens this week’s results relate to rural and normally safe Tory wards.

  50. @R Huckle
    ‘I think it could be a struggle to form a coalition.’
    Of course , there would not have to be a coalition – a minority Government might be formed. However, that would not be Cameron’s – or Miliband’s – decision alone. Both would need support from the other parties.

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