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. Will these student grant changes effect me? I just applied for the very last time for student finance :)

  2. The post IFS poll will be interesting.

    There is a question missing.-respondents weren’t asked about the reduction of the earnings threshold for WTC withdrawal. IFS says this costs 3million families £k pa.

    I think GO’s central theme is correct-reduce State subsidy for low pay but the timing is of balance with earnings increases. The TC reductions should have been phased in more gradually.

    If the IFS analysis gets headlines I wouldn’t be surprised to see tholl follow up Poll show reduced approvals on the TC front.

  3. “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”

    Both are welcomed but the living wage has a lot of hidden anomalies which will surface in the coming days/weeks when the independent accountants get their teeth into the finer details.

  4. COLIN

    IFS WTC £k pa.GO’s TC

    So many abbreviations


  5. Colin,

    There is a really simple system to get rid of the bureaucracy that of paying taxes with one hand, and benefits with the other,

    The Citizens Income.

    Every adults gets enough to survive. No forms, no means testing. Everyone gets it.

    You can then remove tax allowances, working benefits, unemployment benefits, the whole shabang. set it correctly, you could do away with pension administration too.

    Any money you earn (usually via PAYE) is then taxed.

    By setting the taxes rates and basic income, you ensure that most people don’t lose out.

    You ditch bureaucracy, and keep it simple. No means testing and drop off at a certain income. No working out ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’. If someone want to care for a relative, they can do so and get the income. If someone wants to work for a charity, they can. If someone want go out and earn £100K in a bank, they can.


    I think that is an even dafter idea than Tax Credits turned out to be.

  7. @ CMJ

    I like it with some refinements.

    I don’t think there are many votes in it. But as lots of food things are sold in the U.S. and these find their ways to London eateries, who knows.

  8. @Colin – agree with you on the phasing and timing of the budget measures. Disagree on the citizens income.

    I know it sounds daft, but it really isn’t. There are so many ways in which it eliminates the problems in the tax and welfare system and combines the best of universality with the need for sound finance.

    Unfortunately it does take imagination to shift from the stale traditional view of the system, and think about a radical way of doing thins better. A lot of people react as you do, which seems to be based more on an assumption that some variant of the current expensive, inefficient and massively complex system must be better.

    There was a time when the concept of a minimum wage was seen as outlandish and daft, but there you go.


    What happens if everyone decides just to live off “The Citizens Income and where would the revenue come from to fund the The Citizens Income? It sounds very North Korean Juche.

  10. Interesting reporting on Greece, with the Grauniad saying Greece has bowed to the inevitable and accepted the need for swingeing further cuts, while the Telegraph says Merkel has buckled and bowed to the inevitable in accepting some form of debt write off.

    Well really – couldn’t they have done this a year ago?

  11. @Alec

    The Citizens Income will have it’s day.

    You correctly identify the sterile orthodoxy that means we generally don’t take up good ideas until the old has-been idea has been flogged to death and well past it’s sell by date.

    The world of work has already transformed massively from the five x eight hour days Monday to Friday. The need for fewer people in many current jobs as technology grows will mean we will need new ways to keep people gainfully employed and able to support themselves.

  12. CMJ

    Citizen’s income is to be trialled in Utrecht and in Finland

    h ttp://

    The Mincome experiment in 1970s Manitoba never had a final report issued, though an analysis a few years back suggested that only new mothers and some teenagers worked less because of it.

    Those who dislike foreign experiments may care to reflect that the Speenhamland poor relief system in early 19th century England was also trialling a version of Citizen’s Income.

    The system is certainly worth trialling, and it is seems foolish to simply reject it via a knee jerk response.

  13. @Allan

    Do you really think people will be happy to live their lives on a limited income?

    I think most people want to be productive, so would seek employment for a range of reasons, from personal satisfaction to buying a better car or house.

    One advantage of CI is that a person may choose to work in the voluntary sector, for example.

    It’s not North Korean at all, it gives people more freedom. Rubbish employers would know that if they don’t look after employees, they could walk and not starve. People stop being wage slaves, and this would create an environment where the race for employers isn’t to the bottom, but to something better.

  14. @Oldnat

    Thanks for the link

  15. Been looking at a report on the $15 minimum wage in Seattle which could cost 10 000 jobs in that city. Of course the biggest job event there is the collapse of Microsoft.


    I should had added that I agree in principle with The Citizens Income but was asking about the practicality of it should the masses solely depend on it but I take your point people will not want to live on a limited income, well at least not all of us.

    My North Korean Juche reference…. The idea states that an individual is “the master of his destiny” and that the North Korean masses are to act as the “masters of the revolution and construction”

    Surely The Citizens Income would allow individuals to be masters of their destination and in their spare time help the revolution and construction of a new 3rd runway at Heathrow? ;-)

  17. Once upon a time, a council by-election in North Lanarkshire (where Lab got 70% of 1st preference votes in 2012) the day after a Tory budget would have replicated that result.

    In Thorniewood, SNP had a small lead on 1st pref votes and won the seat after the 5 minor parties (UKIP, Christian, Green, SSP and Con were eliminated – in that order).

    Ex-MP Tom Harris may have beeen right tonight when he advised Lab in England to “forget Scotland”.

  18. ALEC
    If every adults gets “enough to survive on”-many will wish to do nothing.

    If the State is to provide every adult with the means of choosing to do not very much-or to “go out % earn £100k”, I think many will choose the former.

    I seem to recall that the costing which Natalie Bennet couild not remember in that Marr interview was over £200 bn pa. And that was to give every adult £70 ish pw-a sum which would not “be enough to survive on”, and would leave many on the current benefits system much worse off.

    This is a concept of the role of State & Citizen which is completely alien to me-setting aside the fiscal & economic consequences which I anticipate.

  19. Sorry CMJ-that was addressed to you in response.

  20. Governments are supposed to govern in the interests of all their citizens, not just those of voting age. In practice, they don’t, and we’ve observed how that decision making here is skewed because many younger adults choose not to vote.

    Surely the cuts in child benefit are a more extreme example of that. People aged 0 to 17 will suffer just as much as their parents. If parents were allowed to cast extra proxy votes for their children, to prompt governments to better represent all of their citizens’ interests, then these cuts to child benefit could have been as politically toxic as cuts to pensions.

    Even so, if the government thinks that the child benefit cuts will help their prospects, they should not take too much notice of this. Parents with three or more children are a minority, but they’ll notice this policy very much and will be reminded of it monthly for the next five years. Resentment will last. The majority may support it, but it doesn’t affect them directly and will be of little consequence to them.

  21. Over a month since the election, and no swingometer and no voting averages.

    Are pollsters taking a year off or something?


    Has Child Benefit been cut? I didn’t think so.

    Chils Tax Credit has been limited to two children. You nearly £3k per child.

    re” Parents with three or more children are a minority, but they’ll notice this policy very much and will be reminded of it monthly for the next five years”, since existing claimants are not affected, none of them will have cause to “remember”.

    Parents who choose to have more than two children after the new regime applies will not have anything to remember. Hopefully they will have budgeted carefully before deciding to have an additional child which the Taxpayer will not support

  23. Morning from very sunny Brighton the capital of progressive England .

    I see young liz has asked auntie margaret to evaluate whether any. Of the thousands of tax allowances and exemptions have any economic value -£100billion there to reduce the deficit -dare I say it almost milibandesque.

    How will the sno vote on daves cunning plan to shoot the foxes and will their popularity survive if they go against the animal lovers.

    Greek tragedy act 94 about to close and announces tour dates in spain and ireland 2015/16.

    Finally the Pope calls unbridled capitalism the”dung of the devil”.Such a way with words wonder if he would consider entering politics.

  24. I assume parents adopting relatives children after bereavements will get full child benefit and what about when couples with kids from previous relationships get together.

    Surely the Government would want to encourage such ‘families’.

    I have known Foster parents who ended up adopting a child they fostered even though they had kids of their own; and, these were older children not babies who tend to be placed with less difficulty.

    I hope such parents are not disadvantaged by the new rules as the cost to society of kids in care both directly and long term when they are adults would dwarf the CB.

    Perhaps a different allowance can be used in order to keep the CB rules in place?

  25. @AW – do they rerun these figures to take into affect the reaction to the reaction of the budget over the next few days.

    With George Osborne’s budgets you need to wait until after the weekend to see how people really think, once they’ve done the calculators!

    As always happens, the immediate glow of the announcements (I was impressed with the Living Wage coup) has quickly worn off as people have woken up to the headlines “13m families will be worse off!” That’s around 20m people!!

    I’d be interested to see what the view of the budget is on Sunday/Monday.

  26. @AW – doh!! Should really read your post to the end before commenting! Thank you for answering my question in the last paragraph. Will wait to see what YG says tomorrow.

    Any other budget polls planned over the w/e???

  27. Interesting to see the early polling figures on the budget. Most of the policies tested seem to have support. Sunday will be more interesting, especially after the IFS report. which I personally found less balanced than usual.

    I was not happy with the balance of the budget. Too much extra taxation less cutting is not something which sits well with me. The slowing of the cuts delaying the elimination of the deficit is also bad news but i understand why he has done that (worries about Europe and China). However I am very supportive of the moves on tax credits. IDS is on a moral crusade to move the country away from welfare dependancy and I fully support that, no wonder he was pleased.

    It was a very political budget and has placed the Tories firmly in the center fround. The Labour party has been wrong footed again. The rich and the very poor seem to be the main losers as do certain businesses who have relied on tax credits to top up the low pay they give their staff..

  28. OLDNAT

    Tom Harris was the first Labour MP (ex) on election night to predict Labour to have lost all their seats in Glasgow and that was at least two hours before any results had come in.

    It looks like his doom & gloom forecasts for Scottish Labour continue unabated.

  29. Back on Greece, it looks as though the can has been kicked down the road again.

    This will all flare up again in the autumn when the debt haircut gets discussed.

  30. OLDNAT

    “Ex-MP Tom Harris may have beeen right tonight when he advised Lab in England to “forget Scotland”.

    Probably correct in the short term. As I posted recently i expect the SNP to do verywell indeed in 2016. However what i look forward to is seeing how the SNP perform when they have had a few years of using their extra powers (or nt using them) they will be given by the implementation of the Smith Report. AS I forecast last week I expect 2016 to be the high point after that expect a decline as they are exposed to a World where they can no longer say it is all the fault of the English.


    “Parents who choose to have more than two children after the new regime applies will not have anything to remember. Hopefully they will have budgeted carefully before deciding to have an additional child which the Taxpayer will not support”

    Oh dear Colin your’re so charitable. Why don’t the Tories bring in the one child policy adopted by the Chinese if you are on benefits or a low wage?

    I watched question time last night and all I heard from the Tory MP was “saving the taxpayer saving the taxpayer saving the taxpayer”
    It was like listening to a director of a corporation going through his P&L account and making savings at his part timers expense.

    On the family tax credit. The problem I see with the sanctions for new claimants is not now but in the future when some of families who have 3 children when in work but later on fall on hard times. It’s just going to eventually put more people into poverty.

    If the Tories are so keen to save taxpayers money and be fair with it then as a single working person with no kids, why do I have to pay tax for other peoples kids to go to School, tax credits and so on? ……. I don’t find it an issue.

    After all the Tory mantra is “We are all in it together”


    I’ve lived in Scotland for 16 years and never heard the SNP say ” it is all the fault of the English”

    Trust me its an urban myth used by the London-centric media based at SW-LaLa land.

  33. @ Colin

    “This is a concept of the role of State & Citizen which is completely alien to me”

    Surely a citizen’s income promotes something more akin to a state/citizen relationship, and less like a state/subject relationship? I am assuming here that in principle citizens are fundamentally equal stakeholders in a society while subjects are not.

    Essentially, does (or should?) sovereignty lie with the populous or with the state? I think it’s a increasingly obsolete idea that legitimacy is granted to people by the legal entity of the state (or person in the case of a monarchy), rather than legitimacy flowing upwards to the state from the populous. How often do you hear politicians talk of granting the people a mandate to vote, and how often do you hear them talk of receiving a mandate from the people to govern?

  34. @Allan Christie

    I’ve been here (Scotland) 18 years, and while I haven’t heard the SNP say “it’s all the fault of the English”, there is a lot of mention of “London” and “Westminster” being to blame. Sometimes rightly, of course, and sometimes I suspect it’s just convenient to place responsibility for something you can’t deal with (there are some problems *nobody* can solve, anyway!) on your political opponents.

  35. Looking closer at the Greek proposal, I am beginning to see Syriza may back it and the Germans are not too pleased.

    First of all they get more austerity/reform than before; this is bad for Greece, but is inevitable even if they exit the Euro now.

    They get a much larger bailout lasting three years rather than seven months.

    In the autumn, they enter debt restructuring negotiations having agreed to austerity/reform demands (so have the moral high ground diplomatically), but with two-and-a-half years worth of bailout money left in the bank. This makes a Euro exit a far more credible threat than at present as they would have around €40-45bn foreign currency reserves and no immediate threat of the ECB forcing their hand by cutting off liquidity.

    This is so devious you might have thought the French civil service had thought it up.

  36. @Allan Christie

    “We are all in it together, but some are more in it than others”


    That’s a bit closer to the truth and yes of course the SNP and other parties when they are in opposition will blame Westminster and London at their convenience and some of it justifiable but its not the same as blaming the English.

    When it comes to blaming London then the Tories are top dogs. They say everything is too centralized in London and are even creating a northern power house to counterbalance it.

  38. In my experience most of the five-sixths of the English who don’t live in London grumble about (resent is probably too strong) London too!

    I think if we’re being fair, the only time there is a blaming of the English by the SNP, it is am implicit one whenever they put forward the line that “Scotland never voted for X” in areas of UK-wide jurisdiction.

  39. @ Hawthorn

    I think your evaluation of the Greek shopkeepers’ party is a bit too charitable.

    I don’t think they will get anything substantial. A Spanish election is coming up. Also, probably the IMF rep will share the desk with the Greek finance minister (moving from the next door office of the president of the Greek central bank).

  40. Laszlo


    Maybe I was right first time with the can-kick.

  41. To add.

    I am just baffled as to why the Greek people who voted oxi think the Euro is a good thing for them.


    Not a myth down here, we have had to put up with years of Scottish moaning about the English. All my life I have supported the Union but I’m not sure I care any more. I know many people who feel exactly the same.

  43. Looking long term I think the Tories are really playing with fie with this budget. They have made it abundantly clear that pensioners will be protected at all costs and the young are their main targets, that makes perfect electoral sense at the moment and in the short to medium term will serve the Tories well but long term?

    There is only so much you can squeeze someone before they snap, speaking as a student I can say with confidence that the young were already disenchanted as early as 2010, these last five years have been tough and the next five look like they’ll be worse for young people and while most of us are still living with our parents, are still in education and in many cases technically still “teenagers” and resultantly the ramifications of a very significant transfer of wealth AWAY from us is not properly being felt yet. But when my generation all have families of their own and are in their late 30’s it may very well become apparent that the millennial’s have been shafted. Looking at it logically the Tories seem to have created a generation that will never vote Tory and created a situation where an astute opposition party could blame all of said demographics problems on the Tories,, Can’t afford a house? its the Tories fault, cant support your family? its the Tories fault, massive debts? its the Tories fault etc etc I’m definitely looking long term here but if I where a Tory I’d be mightily worried about my parties electoral prospects long term. They have plenty of time to rectify things but one thing I think we can all agree on is they wont…


    I agree it is,’t agood thing for them. Eitherway they are between a rock and a hard place but they would eventually be better off out of the Euro, with the Drachma, being able to devalue if they wish tneed too etc.

  45. TOH

    I always assumed that Syriza had a plan B of Grexit that they would consider acceptable.

    Without that, they would always be urinating in the wind in negotiations.

  46. RIVERS10

    An interesting post and I can see where you are coming from with those ideas. I cannot agree with you that wealth is being away from you, but I agree that handouts are. I also agree that pensioners should shoulder some of the cuts. I’m a pensioner and i really don’t need help with my heating bills and I already choose not to have a bus pass as i never use buses.

    However I don’t think your scenario will work out like that in practice. Obviously it will for those who do not get on and make a success of life but they tend not to vote anyway, similarly the young. Those who get on will be happy with a low tax, smaller Government approach which leaves them with more of their own money. If you look how the age groups vote you will see as people get older they increasingly vote Tory and they tend to be more certain to vote.

  47. Good update by Robert Peston on the Greek situation on the BBC website. It still looks to me as though Greece will leave the Euro.

  48. TOH

    The unspoken factor is whether Grexit would lead to a coup d’etat.

  49. The Greeks want to stay in the euro partly because they afraid of exiting the EU, and also because of the complete lack of trust in the domestic formal institutions. They may hate the troika, but trust them more than their own institutions.

  50. @ Hawthorn

    It would lead to state of siege at least (the Grexit).

    Oddly the KKE has a credible economic policy (this is not my ideological bias), but it would also lead to a coup d’état. In addition, compared to them EM is a communicator genius.

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