The people’s budget: polling suggests public's preferred policies

William Hague, George Osborne and Nick Clegg

The budget is coming up and YouGov polling suggests some policies that the public would back.

Overall, the YouGov poll, for the Sunday Times, puts Labour and the Conservatives tied on 34% each. It also puts UKIP in third with 14% and the Lib Dems just ahead of the Greens (7%-5%).

Firstly, when respondents were asked if George Osbourne was doing well or badly as Chancellor 39% said he was doing well, just below the 43% saying the opposite. This marks a change from the same time last year when 41% said he was doing well, against the 47% who disagreed.

The upcoming budget will be the last before the general election so it could be a make or break moment for the Conservatives and/or the Liberal Democrats. At any rate, Number Ten will be making sure that a repeat of 2012’s omnishambles budget will not happen.

The issue of raising the National Insurance threshold to help low paid workers was well received by respondents. 71% support such an idea compared to the 15% in opposition. Additionally, the idea of helping the low paid looks as if it is supported further with a large majority (83%) of respondents in favour of raising the income tax threshold from £10,000 to £11,000.

As well as this, the idea of cutting/freezing different benefits was well received by respondents:

58% support the continued freezing of child benefits (26% against).

73% said they would support limiting child benefit so it is only paid to a maximum of three children (18% against).

63% said they would support cutting the maximum amount of benefits received per household per year from £26,000 to £23,000.

All mentioned so far were supported by a plurality of voters from each party. However, on the issue of “stopping housing benefit and unemployment benefits for under 25s who are not in work or training” the parties were split. Overall, 48% supported the policy, against 35% who disagreed. But only a majority of Conservative and UKIP voters supported the policy, compared to a majority of Labour and Lib Dem voters being in opposition to the policy.

As for the idea of “Increasing the amount of money people can earn before they have to pay the 40% tax rate from £41,865” a plurality of voters across all parties were in favour.

The poll indicates some policies that a plurality of voters would be in favour of. And whilst George Osbourne will not take this poll into account in the last few days before the budget, it offers an insight into public opinion on some policies that could be proposed on Wednesday.

The full results of the poll can be found here.

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