More people prefer higher spending to deeper cuts

The public appear reluctant to embrace George Osborne's plan for even deeper cuts.

The public appear reluctant to embrace George Osborne’s plan for even deeper cuts

Three times as many people would prefer higher taxation to deeper public service cuts, according to new research.

According to polling by YouGov for the Times Red Box, 42 per cent of the public favour giving public services more money and investment even if it means higher taxes.

This contrasts with just 14 per cent who wish to prioritise reducing taxation even if it results in public services having less money.

Almost a third (32 per cent) of those questioned favour keeping the levels of tax and money spent on public services about the same.


Meanwhile according to another poll from the same data set, a slim majority favour investing more money in public services over further cuts even if it means the government borrowing more and building up more debt.

32 per cent of those questioned say the government should spend more on public services if it means a higher level of government debt, while 24 per cent say they want to reduce the amount the government borrows even if it deprives public services of money.

29 per cent want to keep the amount of money spent on public services about the same.


While the findings may on the surface cheer the left, the data is in fact open to varying interpretations.

For while according to the first poll 42 per cent favour higher public spending financed by tax rises, 46 per cent want spending kept at the same level or reduced.

Similarly with the second poll, while a third say they want to borrow to spend more on public services, over half (53 per cent) want spending to stay as it is or for there to be further cuts in order to reduce Britain’s debt.

Because the government is already engaged in a tough programme of cuts, both polls could be interpreted as a sign of the public favouring austerity.

And yet Labour can probably take more heart from the polling than the Conservatives. A large majority of those questioned in both polls are against a level of cuts greater than those currently being pushed through by the coalition, and more people favour higher public spending when set against deeper cuts in the next parliament.

In other words, a majority are in favour of the current austerity programme but an even larger majority are against further cuts if it means the erosion of public services.

James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twittter

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26 Responses to “More people prefer higher spending to deeper cuts”

  1. TN

    Yes, let’s bankrupt the economy again…Luckily I think voters much more aware than we sometimes give credit to them for. Labour’s borrow, spend and tax model just goes to show how the mainstream left is utterly bereft of ideas. I live in a city run by a Labour council. Incompetent to the hilt and vindictive to anyone who lives in better parts of the city (i.e. the hard workers). They have hypocritically cut services, blaming the government at each turn. Funny because even when they were better funded, it was still run in a crap way. This is a council which has millions in uncollected council tax, mainly in areas with higher proportions of benefit scroungers. Recently they proposed an increase in council tax to make up their spending shortfall. Yet nothing is said about coming down on those households that still owe CT from several years.

  2. Sparky

    Strange, because the IMF, have today praised the UK economy and told other countries to look to Britain as an example of how to reduce deficits and fuel growth.

    The other thing is that whenever popilar opinion is at odds with the Left, it’s ‘populism that mustn’t be pandered to’ and whenever it supports the Left it’s ‘public opinion must be listened to, stop this madness now!’.

  3. Keith M

    I don’t think we need imf praise, they are the arch neo Libs who shaft working people. Look at Greece.

  4. Riversidechant

    Bankrupt the country again. When are you right wingers going to give that stupid argument up, it shows your complete ignorance and pig headedness. THE BANKERS BANKRUPTED BRITAIN. Stop treating people like idiots you only look foolish.

  5. Guest

    So you don’t understand fiat currency.

    And yes, your rich “hard workers”, collecting those dividends! As you whine because they’ve cut services because of funding cuts, as you make up tales of non-collection and attack the poor.

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    It shows they refuse to understand fiat currency.

  7. Guest

    The IMF have repeatedly said we cut too far and too fast, and criticised government fiscal policy.

    You’re looking at decade-old reports, dear.

  8. Guest

    For reference;

    “From 2008 to 2012 I was the IMF’s mission chief for the annual
    consultations with the United Kingdom, and was thus one of the
    architects of the IMF’s policy recommendations”

    “The IMF was right to raise its voice about the risks of the UK’s fiscal
    strategy and advocate even greater budget easing than was eventually
    implemented. Furthermore, IMF surveillance and policy advice are more
    robust when they are well-grounded in economics and do not succumb to
    intimidation by country authorities.”

  9. madasafish

    Most people prefer to spend any money as long as they don’t have to pay more taxes.

    Just look at all the Labour millionaires – I see none of them offering to pay more..

  10. sparky

    You’re the one that’s out of date.

    This happened this week. It’s even reported in the Guardian.

  11. Mike Stallard

    What austerity programme?
    The national debt has doubled since Gordon Brown left office.
    We really do need to reduce the debt (not the deficit) fast. At the moment, at £70 billion, annual expenditure to service the debt is double what we spend on defending our country and about half of what we spend on the NHS. (We need to pay interest on the government’s loans.) Do you really want the figure to double again and force us to cut back on all those nurses and doctors and teachers?
    Who is lending us all that massive amount of money? Chinese? Arabs? Russians? And what happens when they pull the plug? Ever heard of the Suez conflict?

  12. littleoddsandpieces

    The Daily Telegraph on Monday 12 January revealed by information gleaned by pensions experts gaining Freedom of Information requests from government and formal government email seen by The Daily Telegraph, that the flat rate pension is LESS NOT MORE state pension for 2 million workers,
    over half of new claimants of women born from 1953 and men born from 1951,
    denied state pension payout as it is from 2013 for 7 years for a couple.

    Some people are getting formal government calculations of a mere £55 per week flat rate pension (that is ar below even the current basic state pension, not the full one now), from all the conditionality that means LESS NOT MORE state pension and

    NIL STATE PENSION for huge numbers

    See detail at:

    Public spending does not need to rise to pay for the state pension.

    Labour found out from the House of Lords Library that the National Insurance Fund is in surplus since 2013, but this is wrong because this is the non-paid-out state pensionce since 2013, payable if keep your job.

    The Greens could gain the grey vote (and so the last of the people who come out to vote) if only they would have the moral courage to take from their policy website their new and unique polices and put them onto their 2015 manifesto.

    These policies would:

    – Pay off national debt
    – End the huge rise in welfare admin by the billions
    – End the billions being lost to the starving
    – end starvation for all ages from yet born babes to grannies.

    Austerity has never happened and national debt has risen by what the Tories have been doing, pretending to save money, when they have spent more in 5 years than 13 years of Labour.

    Public spending did not cause the recession.
    The failure of major private companies caused the crash of 2008.

    Public spending has been rising wildly since 2010, whilst people have been starving all the more, with the huge rise in admin costs of 1 million benefit sanctions, depriving the disabled / chronic sick of any food and fuel money and the half of over 60s within the working poor on wages stagnated a decade into the past, the state pension payout to top up their pitifully low wages.

    Whilst the poorest have had higher inflation in energy bills and food prices than any other income level.

    The Greens end the cruel and expensive benefits admin and replace it with the far cheaper:

    – universal and automatic Citizen Income, irregardless whether in work or not, for all.

    – Full State Pension to all citizens, without all the conditionality that is the huge rise in cost of admin of National Insurance Fund contributions / credit history.

    A supplement for each of these almost nil admin policies, for those living alone and for the disabled.

    The Greens could be gaining a SYRIZA moment, who had a huge response to their Twitter election campaign.

    The Greens could pass all other parties and save many lives in the winter of 2015, as without state pension and without benefit there is no access to Winter Fuel Allowance.

    The Citizen Income and Full State Pension would be to the level of the basic tax allowance, which the current parliament says will be £10,600 in tax year, 2015-2016.

    So why are The Greens not wanting to win big in 2015 please?

  13. Selohesra

    Trouble is the voters will vote for someone else to be taxed so that govt can spend the tax on them . That is what Labour is offering

  14. robertcp

    Voting Labour means that they are offering to pay the 50% tax rate.

  15. Keith M

    If we are to have a first class nhs, education and housing, we have to realise that these things have to be paid for. We should be looking at hypothecated taxes.

  16. Keith M

    Where is this?

  17. Keith M

    The img would – they are the bankers who screwed us all.

  18. littleoddsandpieces

    Public spending is rising by the billions to pay for welfare admin both state and private, whilst the money going to the starving is reducing by the billions each year.

    So welfare reform has added to national debt and saved nothing.

    The flat rate pension factors in the additional pension to get any state pension.

    Affecting women born from 6 April 1953 and men born from 6 April 1951.

    Contracting out SERPs also meant your employer and you
    paid a lower not standard National Insurance.

    So people today are having flat rate state pension forecasts of between £55-£66 per week, which is far below the basic state pension now of £113.10 per week.

    This is why it is important for those in their late 50s / early 60s,
    equally liable to benefit sanctions, disabled / chronic sick benefit losses and the Bedroom Tax,
    to ask their flat rate pension forecast to government,
    for women born from 6 April 1953 and men born from 6 April 1951.

    If you get less than the flat rate of around £148-£155 per week, then you might care to sign the petition below so that this triggers a debate in parliament before the flat rate pension beggars the poor forever in old age.

    And it might just get The Greens to take note, because they have hidden away and not used in their 2015 manifesto for the general election, something which helps the poor of all ages not to be in food and fuel poverty, from babes to grannies.

  19. Guest

    Aww, are you afraid of having to pay some tax? Right.

    How dare the poor be able to afford food and housing.

  20. Guest

    Ah, austerity denial.

    The reality is your beloved austerity is very expensive. You’d pile on more and more costs, as you want so strongly to cut back on nurses and doctors and teachers, causing more costs, rather than risk spending – as Britain risks deflation.

    Doubling ain’t enough for you, I see.

    (And you don’t know who we borrow from, right)

  21. Guest

    They’ve, as I linked, bowed to political borrowing and the person who did it until 2012 has been quite plain, as I linked.

  22. Mike Stallard

    a. Look at the figures. Name calling doesn’t alter that.

    b. There is no austerity. What has been cut back on is bureaucracy – are you not in favour of that? Don’t give me all that guff about sacred nurses and teachers please.

    c. No I do not. But borrowing puts you into the hands of the lender. Any working class person knows that.

  23. Guest

    Correct, so why are you in desperate denial of the figures?

    You are DEMANDING there be less cash, and more poverty. That’s what Austerity does. You will always have a “next cut”, because you generate the “need” for cuts.

    Rather than spending cash to save money.

  24. Mike Stallard

    The money, if given by the government, will have to be borrowed. Which means that the figure of £84 billion will have to be made even bigger. The current government is, in fact, doing exactly that. The question isn’t wouldn’t it be loverly, but do you want to spend government taxation on nice things or repaying the debt.

  25. Guest

    You’re ignorant, of course, of the real issue. Which is inflation.
    Oh look, inflation is well below it’s 2% goal.

    YOU demand false choices, as ever, more cuts to ensure that the economy shrinks and you can grab ever-more of it. Nice things for you, stuff the 99%!

    We’re about to have another crash, thanks to your beloved austerity.

  26. Mike Stallard

    As a multimillionaire, living in a mansion, of course you plebs will have to fit in as best as you can.
    With my pay off from the Council and re employment with a golden handshake I plan to by a fleet of housing stock somewhere smelly so that I can exploit the poor.
    (Did you get the steely sarcasm in that comment?)

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