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”

1 4 5 6 7
  1. “What you shouldn’t do is say “way-hay, look at all this dosh coming in, lets spend it!”.”


    This is still treating the economy like a household budget. If the government spends money, it’s not like someone blowing their housekeeping on sweets.

    Usually, the money gets “spent” in the economy, this providing a stimulus. I.e. it isn’t just spending, but is an investment. The trick, is to get back more than you spend, outweighing the savings on paying down debt. Instead growing the economy, eroding debt through inflation and as a proportion of GDP.

    This is where it gets tricky and the real issues raise themselves, because the question then becomes: what’s the best way to spend – I.e. invest – that money? Governments can invest it more or less wisely.

    Thus, as IDS observed, welfare spending only offers a multiplier (analagous to return on investment) of 0.5, whereas proper investment, and infrastructure, can offer multpliers several times that.

    But as I think Colin once observed about Japan, you can build roads to nowhere…

    Thus it’s all about getting the investment right. You can’t just leave it all to the private sector, as some things are too risky, some take too long to give a return (e.g. the net), and some things they don’t have enough resources for at the time (space programme) and some they’d consider against their interests (e.g. cures rather than treating symptoms).

    But when you look into it, governments often have more successes than people realise. From GPS to Microwave ovens, laser eye surgery to the internet, and much more besides, government investment played a significant role.

    Some investments benefit several times over, e.g. housing would create assets they can sell, rental income while reducing housing benefit bill, plus stimulus due to construction. But politically might not happinate some boomers and others to stem house price rises…

    Of course if they made Thorium work, it would usher in a new era…

    Generally, if you want growth, you’re liable to want to run a deficit. Roughly, 30Bn deficit buys you 2% growth.* Running a surplus in a boom is OK if the economy is overheating, especially if there is some external stimulus – e.g. cheap Chinese money flooding in – but much of the time it isn’t a boom, so you need that deficit to grow the money supply to foster growth.

    * by which I mean new money into the economy. During the crunch, deficit was in excess of 150Bn, but only around £30Bn was new money. The rest was covering the shortfall due to surging welfare costs and collapse of tax receipts…

  2. Carfrew – “This is still treating the economy like a household budget.”

    Not really. Keynesian spending is contra-cyclical. As I said in my previous post – in a boom you don’t spend, but in a recession you do.

    New Labour actually followed Keynesian rules successfully during it’s first eight years. They ran surpluses during 1999, 2000 and 2001 and these were nothing to do with following Ken Clarke’s rules for 1997 and 1998. Then there was a global recession which sent the USA, France, Germany and Japan into recession. But the UK sailed on because the govt had opened the spigots and increased spending. So far so Keynesian.

    But when the global economy recovered circa 2003 they should have reined spending in again.

    But they didn’t. Why? IMO the curse of being past 8-10 years in govt hit. They thought, why are we following these rules? Look at the useless Tories, there is no way they will ever get elected, so we can do whatever we want. They lost their fear of consequences. But in 2008 the Global Financial Crisis hit, there were no savings in the kitty and by 2010 the voters had kicked them out of govt.

    The moral? Lab needs to get back in touch with Keynesianism to get back into govt. No-one is going to elect them while they are anti-Keynes.

  3. I’m afraid I’m not a great fan of ‘tax to invest’.

    We obviously need a public sector, and much that it does, it does well, but it remains largely unreformed and inefficient. Here in deepest Devon, the local councils are spectacularly useless, stuck with working practices from the 1970s, intensely bureaucratic and unable to change a light bulb. When the County Council went from 9000 to 6000 staff, under pressure from reduced funding, no-one noticed.

    The big challenge is not just to make cuts, although that must be done, but to combine them with genuine improvements in efficiency. It is a cultural change that is required, more than anything else.

    In my District Council, staff numbers rise every month, as the services are cut. It is Conservative, incidentally.

    The task for our major parties is to recognise the problem and deal with it: the Tories just make cuts and hope this improves efficiency, which is dubious, whilst Labour just wails, and refuses to accept that there is a problem.

  4. Candy

    In the real world, public services need steady and predictable funding. You do the demand management via taxes and interest rates. Liz Kendall has been quite clearly in favour of low taxes. I doubt she understands what Keynesianism is, let alone follows it. I think you may be projecting your own beliefs on to her.

  5. @Millie

    – “We obviously need a public sector, and much that it does, it does well, but it remains largely unreformed and inefficient.”

    A little evidence here might be helpful? Organizations like the NHS are extremely efficient compared to other health systems, UK local authorities have far better health and safety records than private companies, studies demonstrate that the public sector is doing work that is harder to do ‘efficiently’ – which is precisely why the private sector doesn’t do it etc. I think you may be displaying an inherent bias here?

    “Here in deepest Devon, …….. When the County Council went from 9000 to 6000 staff, under pressure from reduced funding, no-one noticed.”

    You haven’t noticed, but that doesn’t ,mean that there were no impacts. The deterioration in the NHS has been caused almost exclusively by the pressure caused by our ‘spectacularly useless’ councils cutting home care, leading to tremendous pressure on the NHS. I can’t go to my local library any more. Just two examples.


    Quite a fair analysis. Greece collected 34% of GDP in taxes in 2010, UK 35.5%. Not quite the basket case that some would have us believe.

    The apocolyptic figures of 89% and 2.5% total tax take in 2010 were just plain wrong. No wonder the German public don’t understand the issues.

    The article seems very balanced, in that it does highlight the weaknesses in the Greek tax system, but interestingly it also suggests that the principle tax evaders are in the medical, legal, engineering and media sectors – very middle class sections of society.

    Greece certainly needs to get it’s fiscal governance in order, but it isn’t so far off the UK position as some people would want us to believe, and the myths being created are leading to savage impacts on the poorest people as the answer to a problem largely created by the rich.

  7. Confusing post – it should have been “The apocolyptic figures of 89% and 97.5% total tax take uncollected in 2010 were just plain wrong. No wonder the German public don’t understand the issues. “

  8. Alec

    Apologies – I have should have elaborated.

    As you probably realised, I was primarily referring to local government. I deal with it on an everyday basis, and it is extremely inefficient. In the case of my County Council, the early cuts were very easily made, without, as I say, anyone noticing. But now, with further reductions, you are quite right – things like bus services, libraries and youth services are being substantially reduced. And it is unpleasant. But it still takes a meeting of five people to close a road, and they still send you around a ludicrously elongated route, quite unnecessarily.

    Cuts are achieved by chopping and slicing rather than improving.

    Evidence? I have it in spades, but this is a post, not a dissertation.

    As for the NHS, then I confess to bias. I recently had major heart surgery, and had wonderful service throughout. I would suggest that my local hospital works far more efficiently than my local authority.

    Sadly, local government reform is always about getting rid of tiers of government and shuffling the deckchairs. Its more fundamental than that, I’m afraid.

    Consultation is always after the decision is taken, and conducted in a desultory fashion. No-one is ever sacked. Months are spent devising policy documents that are not acted upon. Figures are routinely fiddled. FoI requests rarely receive a response. Endless meetings without any outcomes.

    Private business is also scandalously inefficient at times. Ever tried phoning BT, or worse, making a complaint to them?

    I agree, as things stand, the NHS overall compares favourably with most organisations I encounter.

    Which begs the question, which I suspect you are better placed to answer: why is it that the NHS has got its act together better than other areas of government? I appreciate it is under great strain, of course, and could always do with more funding, but I suspect that its efficiency has improved.

    Thanks for making me clarify my earlier post.

  9. A long night of left wing economics reading the posts this morning, all very amusing.

    So the Greek problem is settled. What nonsense, another deal which will fail in a few weeks or months. The Euro cannot succeed as it is currently structured. It will probably surprise him, but I agree with much that Hawthorn has written on the subject.

    The French and Germans fell out in a big way and I think the flawed EU project has taken a big hit.

  10. Millie

    It’s not just local government which is inefficient. How often have you heard of ineffective teachers being sacked?

  11. TOH

    At the junior school that my kids attended, the worst teacher was told to take the day off when the Ofsted inspectors arrived.

  12. MILLIE

    Say’s it all!

    Sometime soon the power of the teaching unions has to be smashed. I’m sure experience is typical.

  13. Hawthorn

    People who understand economics like the blessed Margaret, who I think was amongst the first to say it cannot work and was flawed.

    Tony Benn was against the whole EU project if my memory serves me right, about the only thing i have ever agreed with him on.

    I would be happy to see Cameron and Osborne go in those circumstances. We could then have a truly Conservative government outsie the EU. How I would welcome that!

  14. ToH

    I am not partisan enough to think that Thatcher was always wrong, just as you are not partisan enough to think that Benn was always wrong.

    An “out” vote would certainly shake things up, but I am not sure if big business would ever forgive the Conservatives.

  15. 07052015

    From the graun live blog:

    “Many parents who aren’t on child tax credits have to make difficult decisions about how many children they can afford, says Kendall, when she’s asked about her decision to back the cap on child tax credits to two children.”

    Presumably poor people with two children who have family planning accidents should be coerced into having an abortion according to our Liz?

  16. @ Barney

    I didn’t mean to chill you with 1792-93. All those people wanted something right. But the historical circumstances were just as powerful as natural selection (and did it in their apparently arbitrary way).

    My primary prediction was national unity government, which is of course not one and represents an immense danger to democracy in the medium term (medium term: economic collapse of Greece. Could be a few months.)

    @ Hawthorn

    Golden Dawn is a real danger, but the KKE is also for Grexit (including exit from the EU, but it is expressed in a very turgid language).


    Well said, i agree.

    Business would forgive them if they found that they actually prospered after Brexit.

  18. After about two months of deliberation I’ll be voting:

    1) Burnham
    2) Cooper
    3) RON

  19. 07052015

    I’m also a chemist by training and I’m glad to see that your cat is good at economics. I suggest you should listen to your cat more often.

    Yes she did sign Maastricht against her better judgement, and to her shame.

  20. Hawthorn yes she seems to have waffled thru it and tried to sit on the fence -this contest has come too early for her -all she can hope for is that yvette wins and offers her a job tho it wont be health as burnham will get that.If burnham wins she will prob get international development or nothing.

  21. Toh took your advice -the cat says she wants out of the EU as the fish policy stinks and she would vote for kendall as her claws would rip osborne to shreds.

    Who knew ?

  22. 07052015

    Your cat really is bright, Kendall is the only one of the four candidates who would worry the Tories.

  23. @Candy

    You kinda side-stepped my point. Well pretty much all my points.

    Not that your response is entirely wrong, it’s just sub-optimal. Running a deficit in providing more stimulus can provide more growth, thus giving you more to counter a recession with when it hits. Running a surplus might seem like you’re saving, but when you are reducing your income going forward, you leave yourself worse off overall.

    Suppose you run a surplus for five years, and the reduced stimulus costs you one percent growth a year. You might have a few tens of billions in the bank, but your economy is about six percent smaller than it would have been without the surplus. So when the crisis hits, you’re already tens of billions worse off PER YEAR in terms of government income AND the recession shrinks the economy from a lower base.

  24. @MILLIE

    “I’m afraid I’m not a great fan of ‘tax to invest’.
    We obviously need a public sector, and much that it does, it does well, but it remains largely unreformed and inefficient.”


    Well without government investment you would have had difficulty making that point, sans an internet to make it with. You can say goodbye to a lot of infrastructure and services we depend on and innovations funded by governments.

    Or else wait a lot longer for the private sector to get around to it. Or maybe they’ll put their effort into more banking “innovations” to scare us with.

    Even inefficient public services can provide a stimulus by putting more money into the economy. But sure, we would generally want a more efficient return on investment.

    It can be rather difficult to design efficient systems, is the problem. Especially with all those nasty unforseen knock-on effects. Hospitals have been drafting experts from the airline industry to improve their processes, because airlines run highly sophisticated aircraft shifting huge numbers of peeps to punishing schedules, with relatively few fatalities.

    Because failure is costly and very conspicuous so they have to get it right.

  25. The weekend’s events should be a gift to Labour if they had any nous.

    To the Scot Nats: see what you wanted, Sturgeon = Tsipras.

    To the Tories: your plan is to annoy the Germans into giving loads of concessions which you will then sell as a triumph to the grateful populace. Cameron = Tsipras.

    Bet they don’t though.

  26. Toh thats just partisan waffle.

    Who leads at the next election is what matters ,red george still seems very nervous at the dispatch box -not that may or boris would be any better so i think neither side is exactly quaking in their boots about the other tho cameron until he retires will be tricky for whoever labour elects.Dave wont like being against a woman which is a real weak spot for him.

    On policies forget the workers stuff its cringeworthy ,floaters go for the tories cos they will cut tax no other reason.

  27. “At the junior school that my kids attended, the worst teacher was told to take the day off when the Ofsted inspectors arrived.”


    If only they would do that with the worst Ofsted inspectors!!

    If you’re in banking when the crunch hits, you might even get a huge payoff!!

    And quite a few politicians get hidden in a cupboard somewhere come election time…

  28. @ALEC

    “Quite a fair analysis. Greece collected 34% of GDP in taxes in 2010, UK 35.5%. Not quite the basket case that some would have us believe.
    The apocolyptic figures of 89% and 2.5% total tax take in 2010 were just plain wrong. No wonder the German public don’t understand the issues.”


    Yep, the Greeks report tax collection in a different way. Other countries write off previously uncollected taxes, the Greeks don’t.

    Won’t stop some crying that “reform is the answer!!”, completely ignoring the way that the cuts are frequently associated with tanking growth, if there’s no other stimulus to compensate, whether external (e.g. the way Canada could make cuts in the Nineties because next door to a booming US economy) or the Tories’ help-to-buy mechanism.

  29. At the risk of further straying from polling (thanks for the forbearance).

    Any Eurozone government which does not prepare a contingency for a Eurozone exit right now would go beyond Syriza-style ineptitude right into the realms of treason.

    How long until the markets realise this?


    “After about two months of deliberation I’ll be voting:
    1) Burnham
    2) Cooper
    3) RON”


    Brainwashed by this board, momentarily I read that as:

    1) Barney
    2) Couper
    3) RiN

  31. Carfrew
    I am waiting on the call!

  32. Careful what you wish for Barney!!…

    Cammers has expressed some chagrin at the leadership role. Wasn’t what he was expecting or summat. Soon he’ll be off to spend more quality time with his wisteria…

  33. Most public expenditure is on staff wages. I don’t think it counts as “investment” in the sense people mean. Some of it is extremely well spent indeed, and may well represent a net financial benefit to the government. Most doesn’t. Quite a lot of it achieves virtually nothing beyond reducing the unemployment figures.

  34. F Beckenbauer used to have a good line where he said that “Football is a simple game. 22 men kick a ball for 90 minutes …..and Germany win.

    That is the name of the game here. |It doesn’t matter that there has been a fall out with France. In the era following the last Greek bail-out, Germany calls the tune. While at the human level it is tragic for Greece, financially it is done and the markets are entirely undisturbed. In the U.S. commentators have noticed the unreal nature of continued preoccupation with Greece. It is as if, they said, President Obama spent months dealing with nothing but Kentucky.

    There is no need for the markets to worry about other countries exiting from the Euro as long as governments signal they are fully committed to staying in. The bond rates tell us this.

    The writing off of debt is not an abstruse technical difference but a crucial financial one. Countries (and local governments and companies) write off debt because it is a recognition of reality. It is money that is not going to come in. Retaining the figure as expected income on your balance sheet is essentially false accounting.

  35. Carfrew
    I think you are right. I suspect the role D Cameron has always wanted is former P.M.

  36. Barney

    I have to disagree for two reasons:

    1) Unless the markets are fools they ought to wake up to the fact that other countries should have contingency – not least France.

    2) At some point, if things carry on the way they are, a country will elect (or look like electing) a government not in favour of staying in the Euro.

    The Germans have won this in the same way the Japanese won at Pearl Harbour.

  37. PS I would be amazed if the French do not make a contingency plan to leave the Euro, nor indeed the Germans.

    The Germans are almost certainly pouring in good money after bad as the terms they require would be impossible to enforce at a local level without military rule in a country like Greece.

    I think the Euro is pretty much doomed.

  38. @ Hawthorn

    ‘I think the Euro is pretty much doomed.’

    I think it always was …

  39. “You can’t just leave it all to the private sector, as some things are too risky,”

    Like subprime mortgages.

    “some take too long to give a return (e.g. the net),”

    Like olives trees.

  40. * Olive trees.

  41. Varoufakis claims he wanted to print IOUs on the Monday that the ECB closed the banks and was out-voted in cabinet, and he also considered Grexit.


    “I think you are right. I suspect the role D Cameron has always wanted is former P.M”


    Lol, this wouldn’t surprise as the role of former PM is a lot less work and a lot more lucrative. Getting paid all that dosh to make excuses for how they all screwed things up.

    If you want to get on in this world, you need to make a lot more mistakes. Look at the bankers…

    “You can’t just leave it all to the private sector, as some things are too risky,”

    Like subprime mortgages


    Lol, I never said the private sector never took any risks. Just that some are beyond their consideration. Subprime is a special case in that those issuing the mortgages knew the risks but were able to bury them and pass them on to unwitting recipients whose exposure to the risk was concealed from them.

    Meanwhile olive trees are not quite the same as investing in the net now are they, because you are not spending decades developing a new technology and it doesn’t take nearly as much to plant a tree. And the market is already developed.

  44. @NEIL A

    “Most public expenditure is on staff wages. I don’t think it counts as “investment” in the sense people mean.”


    Well sure, many don’t follow how it can be an investment, because it’s not like investing in an asset. It isn’t even like hiring someone to create value.

    Which is why it often gets left out of considerations of cuts and the deficit.

    If the government borrows to hire you and thousands others as new police peeps, there may be an economic benefit from less crime.

    This is a return on the investment. But there can be an additional return as you spend your wages in the economy. Say you spend your wages to buy some stuff, these wages in turn go towards the wages of peeps selling you the stuff, and then they spend their wages etc… Thus the money circulates, giving additional economic benefit, resulting in maybe more hiring, taking peeps off the dole, increasing tax revenue and reducing welfare costs.

    Meanwhile businesses may have nvest in new plant to cater for the increased demand, in turn buying stuff off suppliers, paying their wages, which get spent in the economy etc.

    Ideally, we would employ people in useful jobs, but Keynes point was that even if you just employ people to dig holes and fill them up again, there can be economic benefit, because of both the multiplier effects of the money circulating, AND the extra demand which attracts private sector investment.

    Which seems counter-intuitive, so some are more comfortable looking past it. But it’s especially important in a recession as people stop spending and businesses cut back investment, shrinking the economy further, so peeps spend and invest even less, economy shrinks further etc… Hence governments up spending to counter this spiralling downwards.

    It’s very slightly analogous to business giving stuff away for free… Seems to make little sense, but if it grows the market…

    Incidentally, this doesn’t just apply to spend on wages, but welfare. Cut welfare, and other people’s wages lose out, investment gets cut. But if you spend the money elsewhere with a bigger multiplier than welfare, as IDS suggests…

    Your wages might have a bigger multiplier because of the additional value. So you can relax about it. But even a colleague who adds n o value at all, might be doing his bit for the economy via his wages. Unles s he spends it all abroad or summat…

  45. “I would not object to a surplus at the top of a cycle…….”

    Are we on warm beer and vicars on bicycles here?

  46. Labour digging themselves deeper into the mire here.

    It seem that the candidates are fighting their internal battles, largely oblivious to the real world outside the party.

    While not necessarily reflecting my own views, I strongly suspect that Corbyn win would be something of an electoral disaster, but even a strong showing by him seems to be sufficient to drag the other candidates to a dangerous position in terms of widespread electoral appeal.

    I think the central issue is that the point has come to re examine what we do with a tax credit system that appears to distort the wider economy, and provides inflated costs for uncertain gain. Osborne has recognised this, and has provided his solution, within a wrapper of austerity, but Labour are left standing on the central question.

    I’m loathe to predict, but such is the paucity of thinking on the left that I suspect we are witnessing the loss of the next election by Labour already. Although we should never underestimate the Tories ability to stumble across an issue of principle on which to break themselves.

  47. ICM/Guardian:

    CON 38 (+1)
    LAB 34 (+3)
    LIB 6 (-2)
    UKIP 13 (=)
    GRN 4 (-1)

    Labour seems to attract more right wingers now that they are confirmed as a right wing party.

  48. Or MoE…

    Or maybe Corbyn makes them seem more leftwing!!

    We await further polling on the matter to confuse us…

  49. @ Hawthorn

    You do not need to be a rabid Tory to believe that benefits should be capped and other taxpayers should not have to chip in to financially support people who want 3 or more kids. I let my Labour party membership lapse towards the end of Ed’s tenure and suspect I won’t even be a Labour voter once the new leader is elected.

    In some ways I hope Unite registers enough members to push Corbyn over the line because I can then push off with a clear conscience!

  50. Alec

    Warm beer – yuck. I’m a Yorkshireman!

1 4 5 6 7