Jeremy Corbyn’s policy blitz supported by majority of British public, poll says

Ashley Cowburn
The polls add that the Labour leader's association with a policy is less toxic than some observers have predicted

Several of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies for a future Labour government have the support of the majority of the British public, according to a new poll analysing past pledges and a recent policy blitz by the left-wing leader.

Alongside members of his shadow Cabinet the Labour leader has used the two-week parliamentary recess to announce a raft of policies, which are expected to feature in the party’s general election manifesto. They include free school meals for primary school children, forcing big businesses to publish their tax returns, and a £10-an-hour minimum wage.

According to a poll by ComRes for The Independent, some of the policies have considerable support among the public, notably the raising of the minimum wage and of the top rate of tax to 50p from 45p – 71 per cent and 62 per cent of respondents agreed with the policies respectively.

Support for raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020 has cross-party support, with majorities of voters of each of the main parties agreeing with the policy.

Responding to the polls, the Labour leader told The Independent: “Our policies are popular because to most people it’s common sense that our government should act in the interests of the overwhelming majority and that will mean taking on the powerful.

“The people in Britain have been held back too long but we have the ideas and the will to change the country for the better. There’s so much more to come and as the party comes together to campaign for these popular polices, we are convinced our support in the polls will increase.”

The party’s pledge to extend free schools meals to all primary school children – funded by charging VAT on private school fees – also has the support of 53 per cent of the public, according to the poll. While 35 per cent disagreed a further 12 per cent responded “don’t know”.

Announcing the policy at the beginning of April the shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, said it would “remove the stigma” attached to the meals and improve the health and attainment of all children.

In January, a separate poll for The Independent revealed that Mr Corbyn’s plans to introduce a cap on executive wages at firms with government contracts was backed by 57 per cent of the public, suggesting a great deal of appetite in Britain for similar policies.

However, more than two in five British adults, or 44 per cent, said they don’t know whether they agree or disagree with setting up a £500bn national investment bank using £350bn of Government money, compared to 13 per cent or less for the other policies tested. This appears to suggest a lack of knowledge or clarity surrounding the policy among a significant proportion of Britons.

The polls add that Mr Corbyn being associated with a policy is less toxic than some observers have predicted, claiming that association with the Labour leader has little impact on the public’s perceptions of the party’s policy agenda. For example, 71 per cent of adults agree with the minimum wage policy attributed to Labour, compared to 68 per cent who agree with the policy attributed to Jeremy Corbyn.

It is expected that more pledges will follow in the coming weeks as the Labour leader and his team continue to set out their vision for “socialism of the 21st century”.

ComRes interviewed 2,029 GB adults online between 11 and 13 April 2017. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Data were also weighted by past vote recall. Voting intention figures are calculated using the ComRes Voter Turnout Model. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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