Truss' mini-Budget blamed for huge Labour poll surge over Conservatives

27 September 2022, 07:02

The Chancellor (r) and the PM (L) have refused to comment on his mini-budget and the fall of the pound
The Chancellor (r) and the PM (L) have refused to comment on his mini-budget and the fall of the pound. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Labour has opened up a 17-point poll lead over the Conservatives in wake of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's tax-cutting, high-borrowing mini-budget, according to a new poll.

A YouGov survey for The Times revealed that Labour has taken its biggest opinion lead over the Tories since the firm began polling in 2001, when Sir Tony Blair led the party to a landslide general election victory.

Asked about the polling, Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith said: “I have every confidence that the kind of support that the Conservatives were delighted to have in 2019 will continue to follow Liz Truss and be able to have a Conservative government in the years to come.”

The polling suggests widespread public dissatisfaction with the Government's mini-budget on Friday, with 72% of voters - including 69% of those who voted Tory in 2019 - opposing Mr Kwarteng's move to axe the top rate of 45% tax for those earning more than £150,000, The Times reports.

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The survey also suggests that 71% of the electorate, including 67% of Tory voters, disagree with the Government's decision to lift restrictions on bankers' bonuses.

Only 9% of voters thought the budget would benefit them financially, and just 15% believed it would help boost economic growth.

Some 60% said the Chancellor's £45 billion tax-slashing package was unaffordable for the country, while just 25% believed the Government had a clear plan for the economy and only 19% thought the budget was "fair".

The polling, conducted over the weekend, suggests Tory support had dropped by four points to 28% in the wake of the budget and Labour's had surged by five points to 45%, with the Lib Dems unchanged on 8%.

In other reported findings, only 10% of voters said Mr Kwarteng was doing a "good job", 68% thought the Government was managing the economy badly and only 9% thought they would be better of next year.

But 60% supported Mr Kwarteng's move to slash the basic rate of income tax from 20% to 19%, 59% backed reversing former chancellor Rishi Sunak's planned national insurance rise and about half of those polled approved of the planned changes to stamp duty.

But just 31% backed the decision to scrap the planned rise in corporation tax, which would have risen from 19% to 25% from April 2023, and only 11% agreed with axing the 45% tax rate for top earners.

It comes as the pound crashed to its lowest level for at least half a century and the Bank of England issued a statement saying it "will not hesitate" to raise interest rates if needed.

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