Coalition 'out of touch' with our finances
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 30 August 2012
Almost half the population think that politicians "don't get" the financial pressures facing ordinary people, says a study.
The stark finding emerged as George Osborne, the Chancellor, dismissed a call by Nick Clegg for the Government to bring in a temporary "wealth tax" on the rich to ensure the burden of a new round of spending cuts does not fall on the poor.
The Resolution Foundation think tank found that 43 per cent of adults agree that "most politicians" do not understand the financial pressures facing people like them. The figure is highest (50 per cent) among those on low and middle incomes, the so-called "squeezed middle" earning between £12,000 and £48,000 a year – a key electoral group including millions of floating voters. The view is also shared by 49 per cent of people on lower incomes and 48 per cent of those on higher incomes. It is highest (53 per cent) amongst people between the ages of 45 and 54.
A survey of 1,900 adults by Ipsos Mori for the think tank also found that 36 per cent feel "financially squeezed"; 27 per cent expect their financial position to get worse in the next year; 25 per cent plan to cut back their spending in that period and less than half (42 per cent) feel secure in their job.
Gavin Kelly, the foundation's chief executive, said: "As long as living standards continue to decline, and until ideas for relieving financial pressures are on offer, the public will carry on feeling that politicians just don't get it. Nick Clegg is clearly trying to react to this mood with his pre-conference season call for a tax on the wealthy to reduce the burden on lower-income groups. As we move closer to the next election the electorate will expect a shift from empathy and floated ideas to carefully crafted policy proposals – which is going to be a real test for all the parties when money is so tight."
He added: "We are currently bumping along the bottom in terms of how families feel about their financial prospects for the year ahead and levels of job security – which is hardly surprising given that the spending power of households continues to fall."
Labour accused Mr Clegg of posturing ahead of next month's Liberal Democrat conference and displaying double standards after allowing Mr Osborne to cut the top rate of income tax from 50 to 45 per cent from next April. Allies admitted the Deputy Prime Minister, left, was not outlining government policy but said the Liberal Democrats would press for a four-year "wealth tax" in negotiations with the Conservatives on a new spending programme.
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Isis in Syria: 60,000 Kurds flee terror in new exodus
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
4Chan naked photos leak: Celebrity Twitter reactions to the mass breach of privacy
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...
£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...
£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...
£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...