UK PM Rishi Sunak gets small bump in opinion polls after crowd-pleasing tax cuts

UK PM Rishi Sunak gets small bump in opinion polls after crowd-pleasing tax cuts

London, Nov 24 (PTI) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the governing Conservatives are enjoying a small bump in the opinion polls after some crowd-pleasing tax cuts were announced in the Autumn Statement budget this week, it emerged on Friday.

According to a YouGov survey for ‘The Times’ conducted after the budget was tabled by UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in Parliament on Wednesday, the popularity rating for the Sunak-led Tories rose to 25 per cent – which is four points up from the previous week, the party’s highest rating in recent weeks.

The Opposition Labour continues to hold on to their firm lead, with no change to their 44 per cent rating.

“It is the highest rating since mid-September and only three points below Sunak’s highest-ever rating last April,” the newspaper analysis notes.

'Labour still holds a commanding 19-point lead over the government, however, with the poll suggesting that most voters do not believe the measures announced by Hunt will make either themselves or the country materially better off,' it states.

YouGov found that Hunt’s central measure — cutting 2p (pence) off the rate of National Insurance (tax) — was supported by 61 per cent of voters and 72 per cent of those who backed the Conservatives at the last election. There was overwhelming public support for raising the minimum wage to GBP 11.44 an hour, backed by 85 per cent of the public. There was also strong support (60 per cent) for requiring people who have been out of work for 18 months to take part in a compulsory work placement or lose their benefits.

The extra points, however small, after months of lagging in the opinion polls will be welcomed by the Tories as the party prepares for general election mode.

There is some speculation that Sunak might decide to call this earlier than widely expected in the autumn of next year to capitalise on the next fiscal event, which is the Spring Statement budget scheduled for March 2024.

The latest a general election must be called is January 2025, but there is a very small chance that Sunak would want to delay the polls beyond next year.

Worryingly for the government, the YouGov survey shows very little optimism about the future among the voters. Only 14 per cent thought that the financial situation of their household would get better over the next 12 months, compared with 12 per cent in March. However, the proportion saying it would get worse has dropped from 51 per cent to 41 per cent.

Anthony Wells, head of European political and social research at YouGov, told the newspaper that while the Tories appeared to have received a modest bump in the polls the underlying data was less encouraging for the government.

“At face value, the increase in Conservative support suggests it has done some good for the government, but it would be wise to wait to see if that increase lasts beyond the immediate headlines before putting too much weight on it,” said Wells.

“Not least, the poll’s other findings suggest few of the public think the changes will do much to help either them or the country,” he said. PTI AK GRS AKJ GRS GRS

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