'Deep frustration' at social care tax hike as 'people abandon the Tories'

12 September 2021, 11:19 | Updated: 12 September 2021, 11:20

Lord Hayward spoke to LBC's Tom Swarbrick
Lord Hayward spoke to LBC's Tom Swarbrick. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

There is deep frustration at the social care tax hike and people appear to be abandoning the Tories, a Conservative peer has told LBC.

Lord Robert Hayward, a polling expert, said on Swarbrick on Sunday that his party's loss will not necessarily be Labour's gain, with Tory voters instead shifting to "don't know" in surveys.

It comes despite reports that Boris Johnson hopes to be Prime Minister for longer than Margaret Thatcher's 11 years - meaning he would need to win at least two more general elections.

The Tories will be keeping a keen eye on whether current attitudes are influenced by the 1.25% National Insurance tax hike.

"I think (the polls) are part of a trend," Lord Hayward said.

"The peak for the Tory party was mid-May, June, July, this summer. The polls have been tapering down against the Tories ever since.

"There is a natural trend against a government - what is stunning is the Conservative party have been in such a strong position after 11 years of government."

He told Tom Swarbrick that in September 2008, after 11 years of government, Labour were 19 points behind the Tories.

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"What is striking is there's been quite a marked shift in the YouGov poll - but what is also striking is that most of the people who have shifted away from the Tories have gone to don't knows rather than to another political party, and also that the shift is among the over 65s.

"And it's worth noting that is a group of people who traditionally vote Conservative and vote Conservative in large numbers."

The "don't knows" are waiting to move to a party but haven't made up their minds, and that is evidenced by the fact that Labour haven't dramatically increased their support despite the fall in Tory backing, Lord Hayward said.

He said that those who have moved to "don't know" could move back to the Conservatives but may go for another party.

Labour's challenge, however, is the perception of the party.

"People don't actually know what the Labour party is offering. It's seen in the vast majority of the country outside London as too metropolitan, too London-oriented but not offering anything."

Asked about anger at the 1.25% National Insurance hike to pay for social care and help deal with the Covid backlog in the NHS, Lord Hayward admitted: 'The anger is there, there's no question, there is deep frustration.

"My personal frustration is that I'm not convinced that the money will be well spent."