IPPR made a living out of producing pleasant reading for Labour, though even they couldn’t spin these figures in Ed’s favour. A YouGov poll commissioned by the Labour wonk-shop finds massive public opposition to the party’s position on welfare. 76% say the system is too soft on people who could work that don’t, with just 10% taking up Ed’s line backing those on benefits. Who is the type of person the public is most sympathetic to protecting? Pensioners, the very group that Balls has targeted for pension cuts if Labour win in 2015. With friends like these…
Pickles shows himself as the “model of lean government” with a 10% cut, alongside Grayling and Maude, while the Chancellor leads by example. Hammond and May get off lightly…
Turns out government borrowing actually rose last year. Revised ONS figures show public sector borrowing for 2012-13 was £118.8 billion, up from £118.5 billion the year before. This week’s Speccie cover article gets to the point:
“When the Chancellor stands up to present his spending review next Wednesday it will be with the reputation of a crazed axeman. Much of the country, whether it thinks it a good thing or not, subscribes to the belief that George Osborne is shrinking the state year-on-year, slicing here, chopping there. In a recent poll 58 per cent of respondents agreed with the proposition that Osborne’s ‘austerity drive’ is ‘harming the economy’… Osborne is no mad axeman but a bodger blundering around with a blunt chisel.”
Osborne wants to portray himself as a responsible, sound money Chancellor making tough choices, streamlining an overbearing state and making government more efficient. The truth is borrowing, and as the graph below shows, spending is still going up:
The Treasury is pushing the fact that borrowing fell last month year-on-year, which is encouraging. But to say they are not doing enough is an understatement…
See also: Tale of Two Austerities.
UKIP’s efforts to do battle online are clearly paying off. According to analysis done by UK General Election 2015, the party is gaining Twitter followers and Facebook likes at a considerably greater rate than its opponents, with the Tories in particular falling way short. By way of comparison, over the same period @GuidoFawkes gained some 7,000 followers and now has 109,745 followers – more than any UK political party. Social media campaigning will have a big part to play over the next two years, so these stats make interesting reading…
Two weeks ago Dave’s key defence against Tory plotters, his relative popularity compared to the party, was wobbling. Today Peter Kellner has some figures that will have Downing Street breathing a collective sigh of relief. Ed is less popular than Labour, somehow Clegg is less popular than the LibDems, though Cameron is again preferred to his party. Kellner says this is the graph that shows the Tories will lose in 2015 if they ditch Dave…
- Employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.5%, down 0.1 percentage points from November 2012 to January 2013
- up 0.7 percentage points from a year earlier.
- 29.76 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 24,000 from November 2012 to January 2013
- up 432,000 from a year earlier.
- unemployment rate was 7.8%, unchanged from November 2012 to January 2013
- down 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier
- 2.51 million unemployed people, down 5,000 from November 2012 to January 2013 and down 88,000 from a year earlier
- number employed in public sector at lowest level since 2001 at 5.7million
- number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance last month fell by 8,600 to 1.51 million
That last number one for the Tories to cling on to…
UK national newspaper website figures for the last month are out, with the Mail still well out a head. The percentage change is year on year.
-MailOnline: 7,833,182 (up 39%)
-Guardian.co.uk: 4,771,866 (up 23.1%)
-Telegraph.co.uk: 3,041,594 (up 29.8%)
-Mirror: 1,176,217 (up 78%)
-The Sun: 1,698,572 (up 11%)
-Independent: 1,131,150 (62.5%)
-Metro: 406,187 (38,5%)
For the sake of comparison Guido had 516,730 unique visitors in April (up 53%).
Despite the new pay-wall, the Telegraph is beginning to catch up with the freebie Guardian.
Clegg’s strategy in coalition has been to promote the LibDems as the party of fairness. Apparently with no sense of irony, he has attacked the Tories for failing to “adopt the politics of fairness”, told Martha Kearney he is the “voice of fairness” in government, and dreamt up that catchy-as-it-is-believable slogan “Building a fairer Britain”. Unfortunately for Nick, repeating something over and over doesn’t mean the public will believe him.
A YouGov poll out this morning finds only 6% think Clegg would be the most effective leader at making Britain a fairer place. Nearly double that, 11%, choose Nigel Farage as the fairest party leader. There’s bad news for Ed too, he comes second to Dave by 21% to 19%. Topping the poll is public apathy: 29% said no leader could deliver a fairer society. People might disagree about what fairness means, but nearly everyone agrees Clegg won’t deliver it…
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have actually put out something interesting for a change. Over the last thirty years, Labour supporters’ attitudes to welfare have hardened considerably. In the late eighties 41% believed social injustice was the main cause of poverty, now that figure is just 27%. This can be explained in part by the number that blame laziness amongst those on benefits, up from 13% to 22%. 31% of Labour backers see welfare recipients as undeserving, compared to just 21% thirty years ago. The biggest jump: 46% now believe the welfare state encourages dependency, up from just 16% in 1987. You can see how attitudes have changed among Labour supporters by clicking on the interactive chart above. Ed may want to lead the party of welfare, but his voters are not with him.
Talking of headaches for Dave, last night’s ICM/Guardian poll has UKIP on 18%, their highest ever rating and double their ICM rating for a month ago. Labour, the Tories and the LibDems all lost four points each, with Labour falling below Ed’s fabled 35% target. UKIP are up nine points. What was that about a referendum?
This week 121,113 visitors visited 361,555 times viewing 603,977 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:
- Bill Roache AKA Ken Barlow Arrested on Suspicion of Rape
- LISTEN: Ed Miliband’s World at One Car Crash
- Exclusive: What Really Happened With Priti Patel’s Dad
- This UKIP Candidate Definitely Not Racist or Homophobic
- Stuart Hall’s Lawyers Used Leveson to Threaten Media
- Shock as ComRes Poll Puts UKIP on 22%
- Chuka and His Comedy Over-Sized Watches
You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…
Hardly a surprise, but confirmation from Sajid Javid that the government projects billions more will be spent on tax credits over the next few years. The total spend on child tax and working tax credits has jumped from £24.1 billion in 2008-9 to £29.9 billion this year. The figure is projected to rise again to £32.5 billion by 2017-18. Austerity, what austerity?
Public sector net borrowing is barely changed from last year, down slightly to £15.1 billion. Crucially, after distortions, the drop in borrowing is a paltry £300 million. Osborne can still say borrowing is falling, but only just. Unemployment was up last week to 7.9%, as was the Retail Price Index to 3.3%. Public sector net cash requirement rising to £31.3 billion caps off a set of bad figures for Chancellor Zero. Unsurprising that the misery index is up. Will Thursday cheer us up?
N.B. stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.
One of Maggie’s many memorable memories from the House is her slap down of a young, snivelling Simon Hughes. Channel 4 FactCheck show that she was entirely right: wages went up across the whole spectrum, including for the poorest.
IFS figures show median earnings went up faster under Thatcher than under Major or during Blair’s second and third terms. Everyone got richer on Maggie’s Farm, including the poor. It comes down to this: would you rather be more equal but poorer, or less equal but better off?
An interesting poll for number crunchers in today’s Sun, not least because Margaret Thatcher is named as Britain’s most popular post-war PM. Dave scored a grand total of zero percent, suffering the indignity of coming behind Alec Douglas-Home. Tony Blair won three elections for the Labour Party but only 21% of Labour supporters felt he was the best post-war PM. Also notable that only 18 percent of Tories went for Churchill compared to 25%, 28% and 36% of Labour, LibDem and UKIP supporters respectively. The winner is clear…
Those results in full.
YouGov have the first polling figures on immigration since Dave’s big speech, and they aren’t exactly happy reading for the PM. His proposals were welcomed, but 1 in 4 still see UKIP as the party most trusted to deal with immigration. Clegg going for votes he’ll never win by taking a tougher stance and getting under the skin of almost his entire grassroots in the process hasn’t exactly paid off either…
In the Commons right now Ed Balls is giving George Osborne a kicking over his “failed austerity” programme. How does it compare with other austerity programmes?
Over the same period Britain has increased government spending by 3% in cash terms.
Liam Byrne calls it a “hated tax”, Jim Murphy says the government should “listen” to the public. Most damning of all, Owen Jones warns of the disastrous electoral consequences of the government’s changes to the spare room subsidy:
“A warning to Number 10. You calculate your attempt to demonise benefit claimants has paid off, removing all potential empathy. But – unfortunately for you – most are decent people. When the electorate realise you are inflicting misery not on “scroungers”, but on some of the most vulnerable in society, your campaign will fail. You bank on the suffering remaining below the radar, and you will be proved wrong. We will hammer you with the consequences, and, in time, you will be defeated.”
Apparently not content with peddling the bedroom “tax” lie, a YouGov poll shows Labour aren’t being entirely truthful about what the public think, either. Awkwardly, 49% of the public support the government’s reforms, compared to just 38% against. Even 34% of Labour voters support the policy. They won the battle on how the debate was framed in the media, but despite what Owen says the “decent people” he talks of recognise that the reforms make sense…
UPDATE: At least one Shadow minister is finally listening to the public:
Food for thought for the leaders of the main three parties in Lord Ashcroft’s latest polling. Over a fifth of those who voted Tory in 2010 jumped to UKIP yesterday. Interestingly, almost the same proportion of Chris Huhne’s voters chose the UKIP candidate this time round. Diane James also took 17% of Labour’s 2010 vote. Just 59% of 2010 Tories voted blue and only 51% of those who voted for Huhne backed Mike Thornton. UKIP are taking votes from all three parties…