As well as the Scottish polling, YouGov’s regular GB voting intention figures were also in this morning’s Times. Topline figures are CON 44%, LAB 27%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%. Full tabs are here.

Two things to note. Firstly, there is no obvious impact from the budget. YouGov’s poll straight after the budget actually showed the Conservative lead up, but it was conducted on the evening of the budget, before respondents would have taken in the row over National Insurance that followed. Now people will have had time to react to that (if not today’s U-turn), and it doesn’t appear to have had any real impact.

That itself is a reminder not to put too much weight on questions asking if an event makes you less likely to vote for a party, such as those in the Telegraph at the weekend. Questions like that could almost be designed to produce results making it look as if an event or policy will have an impact on voting intention (in fact, the particular question didn’t even give people an option of saying it wouldn’t change their vote!). In reality it is pretty rare for individual events or policies to have a direct and measurable impact on voting intention.

Secondly, the UKIP score of 9% is the lowest YouGov have shown for many years. The last time they had them in single figures was back in Feburary 2013. As ever, it’s just one poll so don’t get too excited about it, but it is hardly a good sign for them.

274 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 44, LAB 27, LD 10, UKIP 9”

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  1. Well I suppose we could cut May’s pay…

  2. @Alec

    Yes, despite best efforts!!…

  3. There has never been a council tax freeze in England.

    Council tax rises were capped at 2% per annum. If you wanted to raise it more than that, you needed to have a local referendum to get permission. And that cap was removed wef April 2016.

    The difference in money raised is just a function of compounding.

    If you have an English council that has been raising council tax at 1.99% for ten years, then after ten years, the tax will be 21.77% higher than at the start of the period. But the increases will have been felt by the citizen gradually

    If a Scottish council has had it’s council tax frozen over the same period, and then tries to catch up in a single year, then yes, you will end up with a 20%+ rise in that year.

    Of course more revenue will have been raised in total over the ten years by the English council, which means they would have had more to spend.

    My council has been raising by 1.99% every year for what seems like forever, and the rise this year is, you guessed it, 1.99%.

  4. Again, every thread here seems to end up being about Scottish politics, so can we keep that to the last Scottish thread – then everyone who wants to read lots of posts about Scottish independence can… and everyone who doesn’t, doesn’t have to.

  5. AW
    Thank you.

  6. Anthony

    Just to be clear. Does your comment refer to “Scottish politics” or “Scottish independence” being restricted to the other place?

    They aren’t the same, you know!

    [Bloody hell, like I want to spend my life demarcating that line! Everything Scottish in the Scottish politics thread – AW]

  7. Anthony

    I have a comment in preparation about the different ways that YG choose to poll on domestic issues in their GB polsl and their Scottish polls.

    It has nothing to do with independence.

    Would that be appropriate for posting here, or must it go to the other place because it deals with Scotland as well as GB?

  8. Richo – “I do think snr mgnt and council chief executives have got out of hand though. My local council chief is paid I believe 20k more than Theresa May. His decisions seem to be based around the scale of cutting bin collections to every fortnight whilst May has things like managing Brexit, nuclear deterrent etc. Something isn’t right on the pay comparison, or maybe it’s just me?!”

    Well according to the following, the fault lies with the elected councillors:


    The pay scales are actually set by democratically elected local councillors.

    But councillors make the decisions on pay partly based on reports on the issue put together by council officers — paid staff, with specific expertise in the subject.

    They’ll put together the review on the instructions of elected council leaders, but the report’s findings are completely down to these non-political, independent officers.

    Officers will take a range of things into account when making their reports, such as council budgets and central Government guidelines.

    The report is then presented to the full council — the elected members from across the city. It is they who decide whether or not to accept the suggestions put forward in any pay reviews.

    end quote

    So if you want the senior chap’s pay frozen for a bit, you need to lobby your elected councillor.

    They can simply cite tight spending plans as an excuse to freeze the pay of the top guys while allowing an increase for the little people.

  9. Anthony

    Thanks. for the clarification. No mention of that bit of the UK north of the Tweed/Solway is permitted here.

  10. I would add that the salary the council Chief Executive is really small beer compared to the cuts in funding.

    In the example of Kirklees, the three most senior people earn in total about £450,000.

    That’s about 1% of the cut to the annual grant the council gets this year compared to six years ago.

    The PM’s salary looks modest compared to many sectors, but people don’t have to take the job. Being PM brings a power and influence that means former PMs go on to earn literally telephone number salaries (even former Chancellors – look at Mr Osborne).

  11. Congratulations to England for winning the Six Nations.

    Shame that Wales lost out to foreigners, I suppose, but someone else beat Italy, so that’s OK!

  12. CatManJeff – “I would add that the salary the council Chief Executive is really small beer compared to the cuts in funding.”

    Yes – but it’s good politics to pay attention to such stuff.

    If you want to raise council tax by more than 1.99%, you have to show taxpayers that you are not being frivolous and you really need the money.

    So if you tell people, “We have made alI the savings we can, we have negotiated a pay freeze for the top executives, we are raising the tax by more than 1.99% because we have urgent statutory spending to fund”, the voters are likely to say, OK.

    But if you give the chief exec a rise at the same time as raising the tax, and basics like bin collection arn’t being done, then people object.

    The problem with lots of councillors is that they think they are movers and shakers and want to do big stuff like open expensive arts centres etc, which they always justify as “bringing business into the town” – which it never does, and irritates taxpayers. Every single town seems to have some sort of council funded white elephant.

    Whereas if they focused on the boring basic things people notice like bin collection, street lighting and pot holes, they’d get re-elected every time.

    Similarly, with tax collection, some aim to freeze council tax, because they think this is a vote-winner. But they never get any credit for it a few years later when they have to raise tax sharply to cover some unexpected event. It’s best to just raise it by 1.99% year in, year out, and if you make any savings, you don’t pass it on to the taxpayer, you stash it in your reserves so that you don’t have to increase by more than 1.99% due to unexpected events in the future.

  13. Tables for the ORB poll on an unmentionable subject are now up

    The Telegraph story was wrongly headlined. It is just a GB poll.

    Comments on it should be posted in the other place.

  14. @Catman

    “I would add that the salary the council Chief Executive is really small beer compared to the cuts in funding.”


    I don’t think you’ve quite got how it’s supposed to work. See, in the private sector, we are supposed to award gargantuan salaries to the top brass, in order to ensure getting candidates of the very highest calibre.

    But somehow, in the public sector, the opposite appl1es. No one knows why…

  15. @Carfrew

    The difference between the public and private sector, is that the private sector just pays itself shareholder money and relies on the big pension funds who hold the shares not to show up at annual general meetings to object.

    Also, votes at shareholding meetings on executive pay are non-binding, and in the USA arn’t allowed at all!

    Wheres the public sector has to justify itself to taxpayers who are a lot stroppier – and they do vote and they do kick people out of office .

    If shareholders had binding control over pay, the money for chief executives in the private sector would drop. Something for a future govt to ponder…

  16. ComRes GB poll

    CON 42%
    LAB 25%
    LDs 12%
    UKIP 10%

    (It can’t be guaranteed that all respondents were unaffected by banned topics – so treat with care)

  17. @Candy

    How does the fact it’s taxpayer money make it so that paying bigger salaries doesn’t get you better candidates like in the private sector?

  18. If i am a shareholder in a limited company which is achieving ever increasing dividends and share value what an earth is it to do with the government what i pay my Ceo. Do they interfere in what is paid to professional footballers?
    There might be a problem in a company which is doing badly but the answer is to sell your shareholding. No one is forcing you to invest in that company.The choice is yours.
    In the public service i have no choice.
    Having said that one might alter the standard Articles of Association as to remuneration so that the highest paid employee could only earn eg 20 times the lowest net . This could be disregarded but at least it would be clear.

  19. @S Thomas

    I was referring to publicly listed companies.

    A private limited company is usually run by the people who own it, and they have clear control over their costs.

    But publicly listed companies usually suffer from an agency problem – where the chief executive and the board are employees and arrange things to fleece the shareholders. The shareholders should be able to vote to deny pay to a poorly performing chief exec. But at present their vote is non-binding.

    As you say, if the chief exec is performing well, then the shareholders may well want to increase pay – but they should have the option either way, it’s their money after all.

  20. P.S, I wasn’t talking about the govt interfering in private sector pay.

    I was talking about the govt giving shareholders binding power to control pay if they want to.

    At present they don’t have this power – remuneration boards for exec pay are packed with other execs who recommend high pay in a sort of executive employee cartel, and shareholders don’t get any say about their money, which is clearly wrong.

  21. The argument over whether higher pay means you can attract better staff is independent of whether the pay comes via public sector, shareholders or wherever.

  22. @S Thomas with it.

    “If i am a shareholder in a limited company which is achieving ever increasing dividends and share value what an earth is it to do with the government what i pay my Ceo?”


    There are several well known issues with it. For example it can take talent away from sectors where it might be of better value. Would you rather the mathematicians were employed in banks taking down the economy, or helping to find cures for disease?

    Secondly, there’s the problem of widening inequality, with more of the proceeds of growth hoovered up at the top, invested in assets to push up house prices for others, and with the wealthy being able to buy political favour or even help swing elections.

    Thirdly, depending on how those high pay wards are structured, they can incentivise economically damaging behaviour, see the banks again. Really high pay can also render someone somewhat immune. They don’t have to perform if they already have more than enough to retire on…

  23. Carfrew

    I never had you down as a stalinist with a 10yr plan for tractor production.

  24. @S Thomas

    That’s good, because people my comment does not imply the solution is to have such a plan. There are various ways of skinning the cat.

    That said, it’s typical of some to resort to the tractor argument if that were the inevitable consequence of state investment, which is about as helpful as saying what happened to the banks is the inevitable consequence of private sector investment. Though of course even there the state had to step in.

    State investment has given us loads of benefits where the private sector was found wanting, from literacy to satellite comms and GPS to even the Internet which peeps use to claim state investment is inevitably not much cop!!

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