The Times have a new YouGov poll in tomorrow’s paper, conducted after Wednesday’s budget. It’s not good news for George Osborne.

Every budget has positive and negative parts, and it’s the same here: some parts of Osborne’s budget are popular, some aren’t. Increasing the personal allowance is popular (83% say its a good idea), as is cracking down on international tax avoidance (81%), freezing fuel duty (74%) and the sugar tax (62%). People are more divided over the increase to the higher rate threshold (46% say it’s good, but 37% the wrong priority), and are negative about the cut in corporation tax (32% good idea, 43% wrong priority). The worst ratings are for the cuts to disability benefits for people reliant on aids or appliances. Only 13% of people support the disability cuts, 70% think they are the wrong priority at the present time, including 59% of Tory voters.

Budgets are more than just the sum of their parts of course. After each budget YouGov ask the same question about whether people think the budget was fair or unfair, this year 28% thought the budget was fair, 38% unfair. Both of last year’s budgets were seen as more fair than unfair, so were the budgets of 2014 and 2013 (past figures are all here). You have to go all the way back to 2012 to find the last time an Osborne budget was seen as unfair… the omnishambles budget. That is not a good precedent.

Meanwhile voting intention stands at CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 16%. This is very much in line with the ICM poll earlier in the week that had Labour and Conservatives equal. People were understandably wary of reading too much into one poll, but we now have two polls both showing Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck, suggesting something is genuinely afoot.


548 Responses to “YouGov/Times budget polling”

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  1. I see Cameron has declared that he has full confidence in Osborne. By my reckoning that means he should last about another 48 hours…

  2. “Maybe Alec ‘can’t be bothered ‘. You know the feeling”

    ———-

    Lol

  3. when do we get another poll? Not been able to face this site since the long black night of 7th may – but things are getting interesting all of a sudden.

  4. @Graham

    Agreed there are quite a few people earning £11,000 or less, however the allowance in 2010 was £6,400 – there were very few people working but earning less than £530 per month.

    Over the period 1990 – 2010 the benefits of growth had flowed disproportionately to those either relatively wealthy or not working at all – reversing that trend was important, in my opinion, as a commitment to making work be worthwhile to those doing it.

    At the same time, it removes or reduces the nonsense of taxing the low paid, only to then give them money back through income support – a process that is expensive, inefficient and completely pointless.

  5. Bigfatron,

    “Over the period 1990 – 2010 the benefits of growth had flowed disproportionately to those either relatively wealthy or not working at all.”

    Oh this should be good; let’s have a list the benefits that fell to the unemployed!

    Peter.

  6. @Fatron
    But the effect of Rooker-Wise was to raise the Personal Allowance in line with RPI inflation – unless the Chancellor said otherwise.

  7. “Personally I’d make charity shops illegal.”

    Please don’t do that!

    I make a good percentage of my earnings buying rare deleted cds and vinyl from charity shops in the North Of England and selling them on Ebay for a huge profit.

    I should add here that I declare these earnings and pay taxes on them when required:)

  8. @TOH – thanks for being so patient. Points as follows;

    1) Osborne claimed that the deterioration in the public finances was down to China, the EU, other global things, stuff that everyone else has done that is nothing to do with me guv…

    The OBR stated clearly that the rapid deterioration in the fiscal forecasts were due to falling UK productivity. As Larry Elliot says, “..after 6 years in power [Osborne] owns this problem”.

    2) Robert Chote of the OBR made it plain that Osborne’s surplus in 2020 relies on alarmingly bold (irresponsible?) assumptions. Chote made clear that Osborne has missed his debt reduction and welfare spending targets.

    He also noted that Osborne can only achieve his assumed £10B surplus (his third rule) by shuffling budgets between years. He noted that the plans brought forward capital spending into the years before 2019-20, announced additional spending cuts for the final year of the parliament, deferred changes to corporation tax worth £6bn until that year and increased public sector pension contributions by £2bn. Without such variations to timings of spending and payment, the surplus would be a £3B deficit, the OBR said.

    3) Chote said – “On that basis, we judge that the chancellor is on course to achieve the letter of the mandate with the same room to spare that he had in November.”

    Use of the phrase ‘the letter’ in the staid prose of the OBR denotes that they think these assumptions are too incautious, with only very minor perturbations disrupting the chances of a surplus.

    4) Chote also noted in his press conference that Osborne has announced definitive tax cuts (reductions in corporation tax, North Sea taxation and business rates, a freeze on fuel, beer and cider duties and increases in the personal income tax allowance and the upper-rate threshold) and funded these by notional revenue raising measures of a crack down on tax evasion (again!) undisclosed measures on multinationals and unspecified savings in Whitehall.

    From what I can see, the Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail and IFS have all seen straight through this and have been pretty savage in their judgement, the IFS particularly so.

    In this context, the OBR has declined to provide a robust defence of the numbers, stating only that Osborne has had to shuffle things around to achieve a notional surplus.

    Beyond this, I can’t really give you much more. The OBR have made it clear that the budget numbers are insecure to the point of being speculative. In this they are joined by virtually every other commentator, left, right and neutral. If you choose to believe otherwise, that’s fine. Have a nice day.

  9. “@TOH – thanks for being so patient.”

    ———-

    Of course he’s patient. He has an allotment…

  10. @Bigfatron – thanks for those numbers.

    Inflation 2010 – 2015 amounted to 14.12% in fact when compounded, so a nit more than your suggested. On this basis, the NI threshold at £126 would have been the neutral level, so the £155 is indeed higher.

    Under the former rate of 11% this would have saved earners £3.19 pw. However, since the rate increase in 2011 this will have been eroded. Anyone earning over £24,500 now loses all the benefit of the threshold uplift and is paying more NI than previously.

    I agree – it isn’t quite as clear cut as I thought at first, but the main point still stands – people are paying tax on earnings from £8000pa, and Osborne hasn’t lifted these people out of tax.

  11. Alec

    Many thanks for your detailed reply, much appreciated,

    While waiting for it I have taken the trouble to do my own research, and in effect the difference between us amounts to our interpretations of what Chote said, and mine is very different from yours. In my view it does not support your original comments which resulted in my question. It seems clear that we will never agree on this. Nothing you have posted in your answer changes my mind.

    You mention the opinions of the Times, Telegraph and the Daily Mail which surprised me. Personally the last place I would look for financial advice is a Daily Newspaper.

    You repeat , IMO, your error in saying
    “The OBR have made it clear that the budget numbers are insecure to the point of being speculative. ”

    To my my mind that is a biased view of what the OBR said.

    I do chose to believe otherwise.

  12. CARFREW

    Quite right, an allotment brings patience along with many other benefits.

    :-)

  13. Good evening all from central London.

    Allotments, Bridge, Sydney Devine, Potato picking…crikey you lot don’t hold back…;-)

    TAXI

  14. Catching up on some of today’s news and I see the swords and daggers are out for GO.

    If the Tories can keep themselves from splitting any further until after the EU vote and if it’s a big win for the remain side then I suspect Cameron will hold an emergency cabinet reshuffle clearing out a lot of Brexit deadwood with GO holding onto his abacus in No 11 and DC remaining in No10 until at least 2018.

  15. @ToH

    “Quite right, an allotment brings patience along with many other benefits.”

    ———–

    Allotments don’t happen to rid us of storage taxes do they? ‘Cos that alone would be reason to get one…

  16. @AU

    “I see Cameron has declared that he has full confidence in Osborne. By my reckoning that means he should last about another 48 hours…”

    ——–

    Funny, main headline in the Times says “Cameron: I blame Osborne”
    “Chancellor “messed up” cuts, PM told colleague”

  17. @AC

    “Allotments, Bridge, Sydney Devine, Potato picking…crikey you lot don’t hold back…;-)”

    ———–

    Don’t forget crate digging!!…

  18. @AC – were Cameron to cull those supporting Brexit post June and a remain vote, it would be a grave mistake.

    With a very small majority, turning your face away from a significant group of your MPs would be potentially terminal for the atmosphere within the parliamentary party and unleash all manner of problems as his premiership moved into it’s final stages. I don’t believe he would do this, as he must understand the electoral value of unity, or at least a pretense of unity.

    Meanwhile, back in budget land, the chaos continues. We now have a promise that there will be no more welfare cuts this parliament, being corrected within minutes by private briefings in the Treasury, helpfully explaining that there are no more ‘planned’ cuts. Oh dear.

    Questions on the numbers, splits over the principle, inability to get the budget through intact in the face of opposition amendments, and now confusion over a fundamental policy position.

    It’s been a pretty good few days work for George, I’d say.

  19. @Carfew

    ” Allotments don’t happen to rid us of storage taxes do they ”

    no but they usually have a shed .. and you can store things in a shed if that helps

  20. @Kentdalian

    Not sure about putting my Gibson 135 in an allotment shed.

    Might be ok for a store of manifesto commitments or polling predictions or summat…

  21. Maybe Corbyn is far cuter than me, which is possible, but I was amazed he didn’t once mention IDS,or quote from his resignation letter and weekend interviews, in the Commons today. A gaping open goal was missed and, once again, I thought Cameron got a relatively easy ride in what should have been one of his most difficult days as PM. I get the bit about eschewing yah-boo debate and petty point scoring, but a Cabinet Minister resigns with a coruscating verdict on the political motives of the Government, and the Leader of the Opposition doesn’t even mention it???

    My advice to Corbyn is to forget all this mamby-pamby nice guy, never-kick-a-man-when-he’s-down, persona and get stuck in on behalf of all those people, both Labour and non-Labour, who want see Cameron and his front bench get a good going over. It’s why Corbyn’s there, for pity’s sake. Stick it to them Jez. You’re are dog in the fight.

    Basic rule of parliamentary politics number one; always kick your opponent, especially when they’re down!

    :-)

  22. @ Crossbat11

    I don’t think it’s either here or there what Corbyn says (people wouldn’t know it – why would they). He might have thought that such attack would have brought out some unity in the Conservative MPs (even without it, there was some evidence of unity). The quotes can be used on campaign.

    Also, the saga has not yet been finished (if for nothing else, the Treasury’s nuanced interpretation of the statement by the Secretary for DWP.

  23. @Crossbat

    Actually, whether intentional or not, it seems quite wise of Corbyn to step back and let the Tory factions (in this case pro/anti IDS) slug it out in public. A Corbyn soundbite would only take airtime away from his opponents fighting each other ….

  24. @ Carfrew

    but storage in an allotment shed is in fact tax free

  25. Carfrew

    Dunno about English allotments, but Scottish ones are to be used purely for “horticultural or agricultural purposes”. Consequently, “The buildings that may be erected on an allotment garden are restricted to toolhouse, shed, greenhouse, fowl house or pig stye”.

    Might be dodgy to try to store polling predictions, since the maximum amount of land is only 40 poles. :-)

  26. OLDNAT
    “the maximum amount of land is only 40 poles”

    40 poles? You’ve just made a rod for your own back ;)

  27. @Alisdair/Laszlo

    I take your respective points, and I advocated a policy for Corbyn yesterday of allowing his opponents to swing in the wind, but that’s not the same as timidity in debate. If you’ve got a chance of getting a six o’clock news soundbite in, and giving your MPs a welcome chortle, you shouldn’t miss the trick, certainly when it’s so easy to score.

    I think Corbyn revealed an innate nervousness again today, a lingering uncertainty about what to do in these big Commons moments. Rather like McDonnell when interviewed by Marr the other week, he looked unsure of himself and sounded so too. These things matter in politics and get noticed and remarked upon by voters who are only really paying sporadic and partial attention.

  28. @Kentdalian

    “but storage in an allotment shed is in fact tax free”

    ————

    Please don’t draw attention to that or the buggers will tax it.

    (It’s a miracle they don’t tax posting already…)

  29. @ Crossbat

    John McDonnell and Owen Smith did a lot of very adequate kicking in the HoC. I think Laszlo is probably right about keeping the powder dry… There will be plenty of days in the future to wheel out the IDS revelations.

    Furthermore, Jeremy Corbyn did a very effective interview (statesmanlike even) on Sky news which is certainly doing the rounds on social media.

  30. My first post on here after such a grim day last May. Despite this current self inflicted shambles I still think this government will win through in 2020.
    However Labour should no longer be written off. The electorate hate divided parties and if the Tories fail to heal these gaping wounds in the next four years they will pay a very heavy price.

    Corbyn has so far been remarkably quiet over the EU referendum. Does he really want a vote to stay in? I’m not convinced.

  31. I find Corbyn not mentioning IDS to be inexplicable.

    However, the debate has been moved to the left for the first time in a very long time. This has to be a much better than the alternative of triangulating and appearing “tough on welfare”. I have a nasty feeling that under Blairite leadership, Labour would now be positioned to the right of Ian Duncan Smith.

  32. Hawthorn. Blairites to the right of IDS! No I really really don’t think so.

  33. I don’t they are to the really to the right of IDS, but they would have been boxed into that position had they tried their tired old triangulation tactics.

  34. @Hawthorn
    “However, the debate has been moved to the left for the first time in a very long time. This has to be a much better than the alternative of triangulating and appearing “tough on welfare”.

    For Labour and other social democratic parties certainly.

    “I have a nasty feeling that under Blairite leadership, Labour would now be positioned to the right of Ian Duncan Smith.”

    Under the pretext that this would be the only way to win back voters in Tory marginals. Shock horror! Many Tories also dislike cuts to disabled benefits to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Maybe now people will begin to understand that parties do not own voters, and even voters who nominally side with a specific party do not necessarily agree with their leaders.

  35. “I find Corbyn not mentioning IDS to be inexplicable”

    ———–

    At a gig and a few glasses of vino to the good, but just checkin’ in and wanted to say, that politically, from Lab’s perspective, I t’s prolly wise not to make too much party political capital out of IDS’s handy intervention. Just let the force of his argument carry without piggybacking on it too much…

  36. There is an issue with McDonnell. I don’t know his knowledge of economics or fiscal policy, but one thing I’m quite convinced: he cannot articulate any kind of message.it could be personality, and it is fine, but still …

    @ RAF has a very valuable point (again :-)) – and it is really about segmenting the electorate. One can be rightwing in some things, and not right wing (I wouldn’t call it left) in others. IDS is through and through right wing (and not a one nation Tory at all), but has some convictions that may resonate with those with affinities to the low below who want to come up (and tend to be lefty).

    And there are people who are just simply humane (even MPs) for whom there are barriers that they would not cross.

  37. One of the questions remain: is there a mileage in radicalisation (on the left. The right is not interesting – it has been around and it is for the time being kept at bay, although underestimating it is a risk of life, but the left is relatively new in Western Europe – at least for 40 odd years).

    In the UK, unusually, this was picked up by a mainstream party (I know many other things are mixed in it) with JC’s appointment. There seems to be a stepping back (I’m not judging it).

    It is a unique experience to study it (or participate if you wish) – really for the first time in decades and with attributes that distinguish it from those past experiences.

    I think the consequences of the Great Recession will stay with us for a long time.

  38. Laszlo

    If you are looking for parallels to the 1920s/30s, then the rise of US isolationism (in both Republican and Democrat parties) might be worth building into your portrait.

  39. John Curtis gives a fair analysis of the current expectations of Holyrood (and corrects the journo’s poor use of wording):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV0fSWwjN2g

    Nice to hear him outside of election night specials. They don’t let him finish half the time.

  40. Although not a popular view at the moment especially on here, the real sadness of this whole affair is that it would seem that reform of the benefit system will not continue under this government. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the IDS resignation that seems to be what is happening. If so that is an economic disaster in my view as I suspect there is still enormous waste in this area and waste of resources is the last thing this country can afford.

    Carfrew et al – you seem obsessed with allotments, you should get one. As a point of information neither my wife or I have a shed on ours.

  41. Oh dear-lots of Left & Right attribution flying around again.

    This whole PIPS thing is about “Fairness “-which defies notions of political Left & Right .I believe that the voting public ( ie not people like UKPR users) apply two basic tests-Fairness & Competence-and it doesn’t matter a toss whether the politician is thought to be Left or Right.

    So far as I can see, what polling there is supports IDS’s resignation & does not support GO’s role in the PIPS Budget treatment.

    I agree with TOH that the result of GO’s crass handling of PIPS & the relationship with IDS, the whole Welfare reform programme is compromised. And how does that help the Deficit reduction plan?

  42. re “Left & Right” in the Conservative Party, and interesting article in today’s Times characterises it as Country Life vs The Economist-aka Paternalism ( eg IDS) & Managerialism ( eg GO)

    I wonder what the equivalent metaphors would be in the Labour Party ? :-)

  43. TOH
    “If so that is an economic disaster”

    I think that might be overstating the economic impact of welfare spending. Economic effects, yes. Disaster is a very strong word that requires a little more justification.

  44. ALUN009

    Yes, perhaps a bit over the top but perhaps just a reflection of how angry I feel. Colin makes the point better.

    The Government are fortunate in the state of main opposition party and its leader IMO. So why cave in in the way they appear to have done. I just hope the treasury phrase “for now” best reflects the true position.

  45. Good morning all from Rural Hampshire.

    CARFREW

    “Don’t forget crate digging”
    ______

    I’m telling you, you lot have it all covered. Mind you nothing wrong with the ole crate digging, did some of it myself in some of the London weekend markets.
    …………………

    ALEC

    You do have a point regarding Cameron’s small majority and the need to retain party unity so in that context I agree with you that we may not see a forced exit of the Brexit cabinet ministers.
    …..

    “Meanwhile, back in budget land, the chaos continues. We now have a promise that there will be no more welfare cuts this parliament, being corrected within minutes by private briefings in the Treasury, helpfully explaining that there are no more ‘planned’ cuts. Oh dear”

    “Questions on the numbers, splits over the principle, inability to get the budget through intact in the face of opposition amendments, and now confusion over a fundamental policy position”

    “It’s been a pretty good few days work for George, I’d say”
    ______

    Absolutely, GO has had a remarkable week in government and I’m expecting to see the dividends appearing in the polls ;-) seriously though, some within Labour must be thinking “if only we had the right leader at this moment in time”

    Food for thought!!

  46. @Alan Christie

    I presume by “if only we had the right leader at this moment in time” you mean “if only we had the Right leader at this moment in time”

  47. Budget and splits likely to be off the agenda: explosions in Brussels
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

  48. Just as the news agenda had swung around to Labour’s advantage, terrorism pushes it back onto dangerous territory for Corbyn (and indeed for the Remain campaign).

    On the IDS/Osborne spat, I’ve been quietly watching as UKPR finally perks up after months in the doldrums. Singing While You’re Winning firmly in evidence! (Although in fairness, some may have just been waiting for Something Interesting to happen).

    It is a strange sort of argument, really, with what (these days) counts as the left of the Conservative Party (Cameron and especially Osborne) being attacked by what was always thought of as the right of the Conservative Party (IDS, David Davis etc) from the left.

    I suppose Brexit positions may play a part, but I can’t help wondering if at it’s core this is simply a good old fashioned battle of Spending Department Vs Treasury.

    IDS, whatever his faults, seems to have been genuinely committed to transforming the welfare system – with his objective not being to decrease support, or to save money, or any other ulterior motive. His plans seem to be aimed at reducing dependency and turning the welfare system into a route out of poverty rather than a liferaft to help you to float on it.

    That ambition has come up against the Treasury’s natural desire to reign in spending (evident under all administrations to some extent) and the political capital invested by Cameron and Osborne in deficit reduction. Odd that the motive for this seems to have been relatively modest tax reduction proposals, for which I am not sure there is really any demand even on the right of the Tory party.

    I suspect that IDS would have been similarly vexed if he had been a Defence Secretary trying to reform the armed forces, or an Education Secretary trying to revolutionize schools. When you’ve come up with a plan which you really think will help, and the Treasury jeopardizes it with a demand for cost savings, you must wonder “what’s the point”?

    The political ineptness is in not being able to keep this tension in check, particularly in light of the relatively small sums involved. The pressure for the Treasury not to back down I suppose is a result of the deteriorating international economic picture and the effect on their financial forecasts.

    One thing that strikes me is the dexterity with which the Tories (these days) fling their policies out of the window as soon as they realise they’ve misfired. Perhaps a consequence of the aftermath of the Omnishambles budget. Even if they can’t stop making mistakes, they do seem to stop compounding them as soon as possible.

    The best place for them to start in rebuilding their position, I think, would be reviewing the political wisdom of trying to reduce taxation during the rest of this parliament. They are up against a party that will almost certainly enter the next election on a platform of fairly steep tax increases. Further reductions are not necessary to establish Tory credentials as the “low tax party”. Noone is likely to be in any doubt about that, if low taxes are their metric for political support.

  49. WB
    @Alan Christie
    I presume by “if only we had the right leader at this moment in time” you mean “if only we had the Right leader at this moment in time”
    ______

    Yes I forgot to press the ole CAPSLOCK.

    That is terrible news coming from Belgium. I think the political ramifications across Europe will be quite significant after this.

  50. Neil A

    Thoughtful piece and I agree with most of it although as a firm believer in low taxes (for all) I hesitate on your last point. I think one of the governments problems is that it has ring fenced so many areas of spending..

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