As the dust from party conferences begins to settle, a new YouGov poll shows strong public support for Labour’s economic policies under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. But it also reveals a striking disconnect between support for policies and support for parties on specific economic issues.
Despite a focus on the economy by Corbyn’s summer leadership campaign and Labour’s party conference last month, many voters appear unaware of the party’s stance on key economic issues. The survey asked respondents to identify policy positions that most closely matched their view in two broad areas: taxation and spending on the one hand, and public/private ownership on the other.
With regard to taxation and spending, 45% of people support Labour’s anti-austerity platform (reversing the government’s planned spending cuts and increasing tax for the wealthiest). This compares to just 13% who support the current levels of cuts, and 22% who think the cuts should continue but be scaled back.
On the subject of public/private ownership, 58% of people oppose any form of private sector involvement in the NHS while 51% support some degree of public ownership of the railways, mirroring Labour’s position on these issues since Jeremy Corbyn became leader.
However, when asked which party “currently has the best policies on taxation and spending”, 30% identified the Conservatives compared to 16% for Labour. Even on “overseeing the balance between public and private ownership”, more people thought the Conservatives have the best policies (24%) compared to Labour (16%).
Dr Justin Schlosberg, Chair of the Media Reform Coalition which commissioned the poll said “There is a worrying disconnect between the economic policies that many voters support and the parties they associate with those policies. We feel that much of the media have been more preoccupied with dismissing Jeremy Corbyn as ‘unelectable’ than with seriously reporting on the policies...
The CBI and 100 business leaders are warning the consequences of a Tory “Hard Brexit” will cause massive damage to our economy and to business. This Government is prepared to sacrifice our living standards and scapegoat migrants to satisfy the right wing of their own party. Instead of proposals to publish divisive foreign worker lists, thankfully now abandoned by Amber Rudd, we need to show that Britain still remains open to attracting workers who bring many benefits to our economy.
Our policies are popular – even with the Tories At the same time, the Tories are trying to claim our ideas on investing in the economy to promote growth, and employee representation on boards to reform corporate governance. Given these polices are proving popular, Labour’s task now is to step up and become a Government-in-waiting.
Our plans for a National Investment Bank would help to create jobs and wealth while delivering the modern infrastructure which employers and others tell us we need. We’ll be designing an industrial strategy that can deliver growth right across the UK. We’ll be strengthening trade union rights to redress the balance of power, and designing a welfare system which is better able to support the self-employed.
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Losing access to the single market would be devastating for jobs, livelihoods and our public services yet the Tory government are prepared to take this desperate step, despite being warned by their own experts of the consequences.
"The British people voted to leave the European Union and all sides must respect that decision, but what they certainly didn't vote for was economic misery and the loss of jobs.
"The Tories should be sticking to their manifesto promise and fighting tooth and nail for access to the single market. Instead they are abandoning Britain's clear national interests by putting narrow party political concerns first.
“It's time for Theresa May's government to show some responsibility and stop playing political games when our future as a country is at stake."
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