Home Business News Chancellor’s ‘headline tax cut’ has ‘failed to register’ with voters ahead of the general election

Chancellor’s ‘headline tax cut’ has ‘failed to register’ with voters ahead of the general election

11th Mar 24 8:25 am

The Tory Party have not enjoyed a Spring Budget bounce as Opinium’s latest poll shows that Labour is still ahead by 16 points.

Labour has 41% (-1) of the vote while the Conservatives are on 25% (-2). The Liberal Democrats are on 10% (n/c), Reform UK are on 11% (+1), the Greens on 7% (n/c) and SNP remain on 3% (n/c).

The Chancellor’s approval rating is similar, falling by one point to -22% (22% approve, 45% disapprove).

In terms of who the public think would make the best Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer has a 10 point lead over Rishi Sunak (31% vs 21%), although both leaders have dropped 2 points in the last fortnight.

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Almost two in five (38%) chose “none of these,” up from 34% in the last poll.

Spring Budget: Jeremy Hunt’s NI big play doesn’t score with the public

Opinium’s poll find that this week’s Budget has provoked a muted reaction among the public. Despite the Jeremy Hunt’s key announcement to cut national insurance contributions, almost a third (31%) think that levels of tax in the UK have actually increased.

A similar number (29%) think they are unchanged, and only 17% think that tax levels have been reduced as a result of the Budget.

The public are also unclear about the objectives of the Budget, although they most commonly believed it tried to help with inflation and cost of living (25%) and state of the economy generally (21%).

Overall, 38% think it was a bad budget, while only 18% think it was good and 44% are not sure. This is worse than how the Autumn Statement was received in November (23% good, 27% bad, 50% not sure).

Workers and higher earners deemed most likely to benefit from Spring Budget

The measures announced in the 2024 Budget have been perceived as being positive for those on high incomes (49% believe it will have a positive for this group vs 13% who believe it will have a negative effect), and for those in work (44% think it will be positive for this group vs 14% who think it will be negative.

Less than a quarter (23%) think the Budget will be positive for their personal finances, with a similar number thinking it will have a negative impact on this, and 42% thinking it will have neither a positive nor negative effect.

When it comes to achieving various measures, the public think the Budget could have gone further. Just under half (45%) thought the Budget could have gone further to cut taxes for ordinary people, 42% thought it could have done more to invest in the UK’s future, and 41% thought it could have done more to protect government spending on things that are important to ordinary people.

James Crouch, head of public affairs and policy at Opinium said, “Few were expecting one budget to turnaround a double digit polling deficit but Jeremy Hunt will be disappointed that the headline tax-cut he spent so long trying to find headroom for has failed to register.

“Ultimately if the Conservatives want this budget to have a positive impact on their electoral chances then they have to hope that voters feel the effect of the NI cut and any economic recovery more than they feel the other pressures on cost of living that have dominated for the last two years.”

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