COMRES/ ITV NEWS CUTS ANNIVERSARY POLL REVEALS PESSIMISM AT ALL-TIME HIGH
This week marks one year since the government introduced its spending review and a year since the launch of the ITV News Index. During that time the polls have tracked the British public's feelings about cuts, the economy and personal financial situation.
The poll results, conducted by ComRes and to be broadcast on ITV News at Ten, reveal that 67% of the British public are now pessimistic about the future state of the UK economy, the highest percentage since the Index began. Pessimism has increased steadily month by month since the figure stood at 49% this time last year. Just one in five, 22%, is optimistic about the future state of the UK economy compared to 37% last October.
As a result of the cuts, 50% of the public are being forced to make changes to their lifestyle and nearly half (48%) believe their standard of living has deteriorated since October 2010. Three quarters (73%) say the cost of living nowadays makes them feel concerned about their future and drastically, one in three (34%) agree that things are so bad in Britain they would consider moving abroad.
Less than a third of the public (30%) think the coalition is good for Britain, with half (48%) believing it is bad for the nation. Support has dropped over the course of the year.
In an exclusive interview with ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg today, Business Secretary Vince Cable responded to the poll findings:
• He suggested that people have to face up to a “brutal reality”, due to cuts and the rising cost of living. And he refused to rule out a double dip recession but said the government was not making cuts enthusiastically; “we're not masochists” he said.
• He told Laura things had changed in the last year, and admitted that the government had been caught out by events in other countries and the rise in commodity prices. But he promised that there is a “route out of the crisis”.
• The Secretary of State, who himself has said the government has to take “urgent action” said “clearly the economy is poorer than it was a couple of years ago and that is the brutal reality”, but insisted the government was trying to help struggling families with measures like the freeze in council tax.
• Trying to explain the drop in support for the coalition he said, “we knew it would be difficult and unpopular, but we didn't know that there would be a major crisis in our export markets and that energy prices would shoot up.” But perhaps sounding a cautious note, Cable said there is the “possibility, well indeed the certainty that we will turn things round”.
• When asked if with rising unemployment, rising prices, and a flat lining economy, now was the time to adjust the government's spending plans he said his department is working on ways to encourage spending on infrastructure ahead of the Chancellor's statement at the end of next month, but he said “there is no point pretending this isn't difficult...the basic discipline is not something the government is doing enthusiastically...we are not masochists...but we are also doing positive things looking at how to create growth through business”.
• Cable said the another recession was unlikely, but asked if he could promise ITV News viewers that there would not be a double dip he said, “I can't do that. We know conditions are very difficult but the government is doing the best it can to protect people”.
Methodology: ComRes interviewed 2024 GB adults online between 14th and 16th October 2011. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. ComRes has interviewed 2000 GB adults online run every week for the last 12 months on behalf of ITV News.