Poll boost for Tories despite tax burden rising to highest level since 1950s

·2-min read

The Tories hold a five-point lead over Labour in a new opinion poll, despite post-Budget analysis revealing the tax burden is forecast to reach its highest level since the early 1950s.

Sir Keir Starmer’s opposition slumped by two points from 37% to 35%, according to a survey by Opinium for the Observer, while the Conservatives went from 41% to 40%.

Both Boris Johnson and Sir Keir’s approval ratings remain similar to two weeks ago, with 32% approving of the job the Prime Minister is doing (no change) and 48% disapproving, down two percentage points. 

Watch: PM on Sunak's Budget: A fiscal meteorite we cannot ignore

Meanwhile, Sir Keir has a 27% approval of the job he is doing, down three percentage points, while 36% disapprove, down two percentage points.

Following this week’s budget, though, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s numbers saw a little bounce back, with his approval rating rising to 41% from 39%.

This is despite analysts saying the tax burden on the country will reach a level not seen since Clement Attlee’s Labour government in the 1950s.

Mr Sunak claimed the Budget is a strategy to “usher in a new age of optimism”, but the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned the public “may not get much feelgood factor”.

IFS director Paul Johnson said living standards for many will fall with high inflation, rising taxes and poor growth being “undermined more by Brexit than by the pandemic”.

His warning came as the Resolution Foundation said the poorest fifth will be around £280 a year worse off despite the Chancellor softening the blow of his Universal Credit (UC) cut.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak carries his ministerial Red Box as he leaves 11 Downing Street, London, before delivering his Budget (Victoria Jones/PA)
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak carries his ministerial Red Box as he leaves 11 Downing Street, London, before delivering his Budget (Victoria Jones/PA)

Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium, said: “Rishi Sunak has delivered another reasonably well received Budget and his approval ratings have seen a slight boost as a consequence.

“The other good news for the Chancellor is that, while 46% voters think the economy is still in a bad state, this is down from 64% back in March.

“However, a warning sign for the Government is that people are more pessimistic about both the prospects for both UK economy and their personal finances over the next 12 months.”

Watch: Budget 2021: Sunak's budget was progressive - but that doesn't mean you will feel better off

The poll of 2001 UK adults aged 18+ was carried out from October 27 to October 29.

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