YouGov have their immediate post budget poll out tonight here, overall the budget was seen as fair by 43% of people, unfair by 33%. Compared to Osborne’s past budgets this is pretty so-so, the net rating is less positive than his last two budgets, but better than the mid-term budgets in the last Parliament. The rest of the poll asked about some of the individual measures in the budget:

  • The most popular are, predictably, the introduction of the National Living Wage and the increase in the personal tax allowance which both get overwhelming support.
  • After that limiting child tax credits to two children and lowering the benefit cap both get the support of two-thirds of respondents. There are some areas where government cuts to benefits are pushing up against public opposition, but with the benefit cap and limits on the number of children benefits are given for they still seem to have public opinion firmly on their side.
  • Meeting the 2% NATO target on defence spending and raising the inheritance tax threshold both get majority support. So, slightly to my surprise, did stopping housing benefit for under 21s (some previous polling had suggested opposition to this)
  • Moving the cost of television licences for over 75s to the BBC was supported by 49% of people (34% opposed), freezing working age benefits was supported by 46% (opposed by 36%) and cutting corporation tax was supported by 40% (opposed by 33%).
  • Only two of the measures YouGov asked about were opposed. Limiting public sector pay rises to 1% for the next four years was opposed by 51% of people. The abolition of student grants was opposed by 52% to 24%, the least popular of all the measures tested.

A so-so reception overall, though many of the individual measures were supported. A few important caveats – the first is that budgets are often a lot more or less than the sum of their parts. It is the overall impression a budget creates in people’s minds that matters, not an accounting exercise of “8 measures I like vs 2 measures I don’t like”. The second is that first impressions, while important, can sometimes be misleading. This poll was mostly taken on Wednesday evening and overnight, so most respondents will have answered it before seeing the newspapers’ reactions on Thursday morning and much of the response and debate about the budget on Thursday daytime (not least the IFS verdict on Thursday afternoon). YouGov will have some more in depth polling on the budget going out tonight and reporting tomorrow…


315 Responses to “YouGov budget polling”

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  1. Candy

    Boom times are not normal times. Also irrelevant for an economy that can only grow at c3% with interest rates at 0.5% at what is looking like the top of an economic cycle.

    The surplus would also cancel out due to reducing growth. Basically, with high growth it would make naff all difference to debt/gdp ratio. Just wasting time debating on Osborne’s ground instead of making a real difference.

  2. Also bonds are needed for funding private pension funds so having a drought of them could be damaging. A lot of the interest paid out on bonds heads fund those pensions which of course relieves welfare spending elsewhere. So not money down the drain like a credit card.

  3. Candy

    But I guess if you are far left they all look right wing to you :-)

    I guess if you’re a right-winger their dancing on the head of a neoliberal pin looks right and proper.

  4. @Candy

    Re: Surpluses

    I think the idea would be that a legally-binding commitment to run a surplus in normal times is a bad idea, and not just because what are ‘normal times’ is going to be a huge fudge. It removes flexibility for action from what a government can do. More importantly during ‘normal times’ a government might have to run a deficit. After 1997, for example, Labour needed to increase spending in order to sort out social services but they were so paranoid about increasing the deficit (and looking like Old Labor) that they opted to do PFI instead and keep the increase off books. Was that a good idea? I doubt there’d be many people who’d say yes.

  5. @Anarchists Unite

    Labour ran surpluses in 1999, 2000 and 2001. And Attlee ran surpluses in 1948 and 1949. (Poor Mrs T only managed a surplus in one year, 1988).

    Part of the reason there was no inflation despite growth in New Labour’s early years was because they were running surpluses which meant the BoE did not need to hike rates to eye-watering levels.

    But it seems to be that Lab takes the attitude that if New Labour did it, current Labour must reject it, whether it worked or not.

    @Hawthorn – in economics there is only a growing economy or a contracting one. Keynes advocated that when the economy was growing the govt leant in the opposite direction and ran surpluses and when the economy was contracting, ran deficits.

    Osborne was originally a fan of Austrian economics – Austerity even when the economy is weak. But when he saw the economy tanking he changed course and converted to Keynesianism – a rare case of a politician evaluating based on evidence and changing direction. If he hadn’t changed course our economy would be as weak as the Dutch or Finnish ones which have stuck rigidly to Austrian economics even while their economies are shrinking.

    Do I take it that Lab’s response is that if Osborne has converted to Keynesianism then they must knee-jerk be against it? You are also against Austrian economics. So what are you in favour of? The Stalinist madness advocated by Corbyn?

  6. @ Candy

    “If Labour is now an enemy of Keynes and an enemy of Austrian economics, what is it in favour of? The Stalinist stuff that Corbyn is promoting?”

    No government has really followed pure Keynesian policies (maybe apart from a short period of the incomes policy in the UK), just as nobody really followed the Austrian school’s policies (perhaps with the exception of Chile after 1973). Which of Corbyn’s points promote Stalinist stuff? I haven’t seen one, and it would be rather surprising considering his background.

    However, there are some relevant and interesting points in the “Economic problems …”, but better leave outside UKPR.

    The British economic policy, except for short periods, has been driven by the housing market that correlates, but far from perfectly, with the economic growth. Any government that ignores it, does so at its peril.

  7. @Candy

    You seem to read a different post to mine. I was not saying that Labour should never run surpluses, or no government should run surpluses. What I was saying is that committing to a legal binding to always run a surplus in ‘normal times’ is a bad idea because there will be instances where it makes sense to run a deficit even in ‘normal times’ – using Labour in 1997 as an example of when it would have been necessary to do so, as indeed they effectively did with PFI.

    It is not anti-Keynes to make that point; nor is it evidence of support for ‘Stalinist madness’

  8. I think that a problem for Jeremy Corbyn’s chances of gaining the Labour leadership is that he unlikely to get many of the second choices. Whereas his supporters may well back Andy Burnham or Yvette to keep out Liz Kendall, I can’t see AB, YC or LK supporters putting JC as a second choice.

  9. @Syzygy

    Perhaps, but AV is easily the best election for his chances. Most Labour leftists would probably just vote Burnham if they didn’t have the insurance of a second preference vote.

    If Corbyn can’t add to his plurality then he simply doesn’t have the support within Labour. I’m more concerned that even if he did win, the PLP is so stuffed with middle-class Blairites that he’d find it near impossible to lead.

  10. *easily the best voting system[…]

  11. Candy

    I would not object to a surplus at the top of a cycle if it meant something like putting up the higher rate of tax or something, but we both know that she does not think that.

  12. Laszlo

    Regarding the unwanted link between the wider economy and the housing market, I have always questioned the use of the blunt instrument of interest rates to choke off housing bubbles. Sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    I have wondered whether stamp duty could not be used as a housing-specific instrument, rising when a bubble is developing, and lowering when stimulus is required. Stamp duty could be changed over a weekend, and could be changed frequently, without undue problems.

  13. Millie

    The problem is the same as with running surpluses by putting up taxes. Middle England like the idea until it happens, when they vote for the opposite (so they can boast at dinner parties about how clever they are at property or fund a new bathroom via a tax cut).

    I’m a right cynic, me.

  14. @Millie

    I think the financial system loves housing bubbles.

    During a bubble, we end up paying more (ie getting into greater debt) for the same thing.

    So our notional increase in asset values (seen as a good thing) is really no than an increased debt,, in the hope the pyramid scheme doesn’t collapse before we get out of it.

    The greater the debt we have, the more the economic system has us by the wot-sits.

  15. Catmanjeff

    Indeed. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the countries with high governments (such as France) has low personal debt, whereas those who preach austerity have eye-watering personal debt (such as the Netherlands).

    The point is that governments have to go into debt or the public do. The reason why I am relaxed about government debt is because I am very unrelaxed about personal debt. It is just that growth+inflation has be higher than the rate of debt accumulation over an economic cycle (shouldn’t be difficult in a sane world).

  16. @ Hawthorn

    “The point is that governments have to go into debt or the public do.”

    It is true, although an it an even more interesting question why either (or both) has to go into debt.

  17. @Laszlo

    Because the debt created always exceeds the money available to pay it off, creating scarcity?

    That the current system anyway.

  18. Laszlo

    It is better than the days when monetary expansion meant pillaging neighbouring kingdoms’s gold with armies (or rather having that as the only method).

    There is doubtless a better way, but I don’t think it has been figured out yet.

  19. @ Hawthorn and @ CMJ

    Yes, money is created from credit, but why doesn’t it withdraw from circulation once the goods are sold? Japan has enormous public debt, yet 92% of investment is financed from internally generated resources (and it had been the case ten years before the burst of the bubble). So the financial system doesn’t even get involved.

    Pillaging South America for gold destroyed the Spanish economy for several centuries (ok, there were other reasons).

  20. Laszlo

    Surely it just inflates away (or should do).

  21. Hi all

    Keeping posts to a minimum during Ramadan. A few questions:

    Are Greece’s creditors seriously demanding that the country runs a surplus? Is the EuroGroup also pushing for this?

    Why are Greece’s creditors forcing Greece down a path which gives them practically zero prospect of being repaid?

    Does Germany seriously believe they will be immune from the economic and political consequences of Grexit?

  22. RAF

    It beggar’s belief.

    The trouble with game theory is that it assumes that the other side is rational.

  23. That should be “beggars” of course.

  24. Reports -Labour urges Snp to oppose fox hunting reforms in England and Wales in Wednesdays vote.

  25. Sunreada

    SNP urges Labour to oppose Tory “two-child” tax credit policy (or any Tory measure for the UK, for that matter :-)

  26. Leaked footage from Euro-summit:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww7WlSPi9gc

  27. Even John McTernan is against Hattie on this one.

    Prioritising foxes over children seems a little odd to me, but then I am not brave enough to be spineless.

  28. Well old nat I am oppposed to both -child tax credits limits and john bull rides again -but are you ?

  29. @CATMANJEFF

    “Because the debt created always exceeds the money available to pay it off, creating scarcity?
    That the current system anyway.”

    ———-

    Wish RiN was around to read that. He used to despair a little at insufficient attention being paid to the nature of money and banking etc.

  30. @Carfrew

    I thought about him too on this matter.

  31. I see some people are still treating the economy like a household budget, advocating running a surplus without taking into account the impact on growth of taking money out of the economy.

    Even if you want to build a buffer, it makes little sense running a surplus. Run a deficit, and put the money into a sovereign wealth fund or summat.

    Then you don’t take the money out the economy and resulting growth pays the deficit.

  32. Investment and savings are equal in closed economies, and the difference between them in an open economy is the current account. If firms see net investment over time, and a country runs a neutral trade balance, then either households or the government must be running a deficit. Assuming for whatever reason you can’t affect the current account, if you want to lower the government deficit, then you have to either cause households to run up debt, or reduce investment. Both of those seem like worse prospects.

  33. That should have read “runs a neutral current account”. Dear me…

  34. Germans seem to have the greeks behind the eight ball ,syriza split ,seems another election will happen if the parliament doesnt endorse the new bailout deal.

    Another triumph for UK foreign policy wider not deeper EU.

  35. Sunreada

    No doubt you are a warm hearted soul who dislikes cruelty.

    Must make it difficult to vote anything but Green in England, since both your main parties support policies which hit poor humans so severely.

    Personally, I’m in favour of shooting vermin like foxes rather than having them torn to bits by dogs.

    It’s an interesting constitutional question as to whether Scots MPs should vote on a purely England & Wales measure, simply because voters there chose to elect a party which seems to relish cruelty (if conducted by people wearing red coats).

    Are there any Tory rebels who might reduce the Government majority? Have Labour also called on the DUP to vote against hunting with dogs – or are they simply playing politics (badly as usual)?

    If Scots (and Northern Irish) MPs try to vote to overturn the preference of a majority of English MPs on a devolved issue, and retain civilised behaviour in E&W, would the Tory Government use the opportunity to return the favour and use the power, that the UK Parliament retains, to extend hunting with dogs throughout the UK?

  36. Carfrew

    The reason I might advocate raising taxes during a boom would be to cool the economy. Otherwise pointless.

    The likely coming recession should be a chance for the adults (heavyweight politicians) to tell the children (careerist hacks) how economies work.

  37. Raising taxes to create a surplus I should say.

  38. @Hawthorn

    Sure, removing money from the economy to limit inflation (or maybe if the government happens to have a much better way of investing the money. Eg Thorium…)

  39. RAF
    Whether rational or not the surplus requirement is not I think new. But the new requirements are savage. The problem with game theory is that it does not recognise that people not only can re-act emotionally but do so on the basis of memory. I may have said on another occasion but Richie Benaud made a loot of money betting on horses and was asked if he bet on cricket. “No”, he said, “I never bet on anything that can speak.”

    I said a long time ago that the German government were planning something radical for Greece and so it has transpired. on an individual basis it may not be rational but neither was the execution by the UK of a failing admiral in the 18th century…but it did encourage the others. And so it is with the Euro. There is now not only a very much two speed EU but a two speed Euro with Poland tonight making it explicit that it must be signalled exactly around who are the protections to be made. Who isn’t a sandbag in the balloon to be thrown out when expedient.

    So the Euro Zone does expect Greece to have a surplus, it is a very long time since Germany expected to get much of its money back and, yes, Germany is quite confident that it will be economically affected by any fall-out.

    It does look much worse for Greece than it did even a few days ago and the worst that I can see is that, while trying to stare down Mr Shaeuble, the Greek government have made no preparations at all for possible exit from the Euro. Mr Peston at the BBC seems stunned at this. One US newspaper has said that the Greeks haven’t realised that what they took to be mutually assured destruction was actually single assured destruction.

    The Greek banks cannot go on for long and Shaeuble will be turning the pressure on Draghi who can I think constitutionally only give more support if he thinks they are solvent. Apparently there was a very waspish exchange between the two of them this evening.

  40. Barney

    It is indeed idiotic for them not to plan Grexit.

    The Guardian is reporting the following:

    The Press Project has done some digging on the Luxembourg “Institution for Growth” to which the 4-page eurogroup paper demands that €50bn of Greek state property must be transferred. Guess what. This Luxembourg “institution” is wholly owned subsidiary of German KfW and the chairman of its board is a certain Wolfgang Schäuble.

    Syriza might be idiots, but that is downright evil.

  41. Well old nat yes hours of enjoyment at the moment watching the fox cubs on our back lawn.

    Sadly the child tax credit limit is geared to those who fear differential birth rates -very unpalatable stuff from both tory and labour.

    Some policies are so symbolic dont you think ? But unfortunately get them wrong and you upset the apple cart across the piece.

  42. @CATMANJEFF

    “I thought about him too on this matter.”

    ————

    Can understand his frustration. People routinely have mortgage debt several times their income, no one bats an eyelid. Banks operate herculean amounts of leverage, lending loads of money they don’t actually have, everything’s fine and dandy.

    A country with a GDP of over a trillion with loads of assets and the ability to print its own currency etc. runs a thirty billion deficit and it’s like tearing a hole in the fabric of spacetime…

  43. Hawthorn
    As I said, the plans have been meticulously prepared. I have seen it coming for several years (I am on several EU forums). I am not a fan of Mr S and I’m pleased that the UK is not part of the Euro. I knew it was always looking bad for Greece but the handling of the crisis particularly by the Greek government in the last couple of weeks has made things much worse. I was chilled when Laszlo mentioned the Gironde and the events of the French Revolution. In my work I did help people from places like the Krajena and Bosnia so I don’t underestimate what possibilities in Greece now are.

    There was never the slightest chance of Greece getting any kind of deal. The choice was either take whatever is on offer or leave the Euro Zone which in practice means using the Euro or a surrogate without membership of the EZ like most of the rest of the Balkans.

  44. Barney

    I have been to Bosnia (a response on the convertible mark went into mod a few days ago) and not just the usual tourist circuit. As I am sure you know, there are still plenty of burnt out reminders of the 1990s on the road from Sarajevo to Tuzla.

    My assumption was that Syriza were mostly interested in a plan B (Grexit) having tried plan A as a low probability/high reward long shot.

    I think a nasty outcome is more likely without Grexit as I am led to believe that Golden Dawn is currently the only pro-Grexit party.

    This is what you risk when you cede sensible economics to the lunatic fringe and fail to stand up for the interests of your constituency. You could argue the same about Weimar Germany (reflation was sensible, even though not doing it the way it was done by re-arming).

    I am now quite content to agree with you on the quality of Syriza leadership.

  45. WoS/Panelbase Scottish poll (Fieldwork 26/6 – 3/7 – ie pre #ThisIsACoup)

    “Which of these is closest to your ideal scenario?
    Independent Scotland within the EU – 32%
    Independent Scotland outside the EU – 11%
    Scotland within both UK and EU – 31%
    Scotland in UK, but not EU – 15%
    DK – 10%

    Question will be re-run in next poll. It will be interesting to see how the Greek crisis affects domestic attitudes to the EU (and perhaps UK).

  46. Oldnat

    Do you see what the Better Together people were getting at when they criticised the SNP currency plan now?

    Barney

    I should add that Syriza have been stupid but the Germans and their allies have been downright wicked.

  47. Barney

    To clarify; if the Greeks do not Grexit now then Golden Dawn may well be in a position to it at a later date.

    I still hold that this would have happened in the end even without Syriza. At least the curtain has been drawn back on the true nature of the Eurozone now.

  48. Hawthorn

    The Indy opposition to the shared currency made more sense. For BT it meant UK Treasury could continue operating as before. :-(

    Seeing reports that KfW Luxembourg idea is off the table. If true, perhaps the waterboarding has been successful, and breathing now allowed – for a wee while.

  49. Oldnat

    We shall see.

    I still think the Germans are stuffing themselves. A Brexit has to be a likelihood now, as Farage will have a field day (and worse still he won’t have to make up the anti-German stuff). Then a disintegrating Euro, a higher valued DM, and bye-bye German industry.

    This would be the fault of Germany and not the Greeks.

  50. Hawthorn – “I would not object to a surplus at the top of a cycle if it meant something like putting up the higher rate of tax or something, but we both know that she does not think that.”

    You don’t need to raise taxes to run a surplus in a boom. In a boom, unemployment naturally falls, benefit payments drop, wages rise and tax receipts gush in. You just need to hold steady and use the money to pay down debt and squirrel some away in a sovereign fund. What you shouldn’t do is say “way-hay, look at all this dosh coming in, lets spend it!”. Classic keynesianism says you should wait till the economy turns into recession and only then spend what you have squirreled away during the boom.

    RAF – “Why are Greece’s creditors forcing Greece down a path which gives them practically zero prospect of being repaid?”

    Pure vindictiveness. And it’s being noticed. There’s an article in the Washington Post accusing the Germans of wanting Carthaginian terms. Germany’s reputation is getting trashed because of their behaviour and they’ll find this costs them more than agreeing to bailout Greece.

    Re the vexed question of why on earth the Greeks don’t opt for Grexit – it’s to do with logistics. Getting notes and coins printed is easy. Simply changing euros to drachma in people’s bank accounts is easy. But the clearing system (Target 2) is run by the ECB and on Grexit they would be cut off from it, which means no Greek bank would be able to talk to any other Greek bank, and no cheques or e-payments would be cleared. It would take months for the Greeks to build their own clearing system.

    As an aside, this would be the same problem facing Scotland if they had opted for independence and the UK had refused to let them use the pound. They’d have been cut off from the BoE’s clearing system, which would mean banking wouldn’t really work in Scotland till they built their own independent clearing system.

    One option the Greeks could try is crypto-currencies. As blockchains are decentralised and the clearing is done by decentralised networks, it would take a day or two to set up. Of course there’s the issue that the Greek population might struggle with the idea of crypto-currencies – but it’s a viable alternative if they want to take the plunge, I think Varoufarkis explored this but don’t know what he concluded.

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