David Cameron benefits on welfare at Labour’s expense

Only 14 per cent think Ed Miliband could stop payments spiralling out of control, says poll

Ed Miliband is under pressure to take a tougher approach to welfare after a survey found that he is not trusted by voters to prevent benefits spending rising out of control.

A YouGov poll for the Labour Uncut blog found that many people blame the last Labour government for the £200bn-a-year bill for welfare and tax credits. Some 44 per cent of people (and 30 per cent of Labour supporters) believe welfare spending is too high, while only 18 per cent think it is too low and 17 per cent say it is about right.

When those who say the welfare bill is too high are asked who they believe is responsible for it, a majority (54 per cent) blame the last Labour government and only 5 per cent the Coalition. Some 31 per cent think the last and present governments are equally responsible and 8 per cent blame neither.

Asked who would do more to prevent welfare spending rising out of control, only 14 per cent of the public name Mr Miliband and 45 per cent opted for David Cameron, while 25 per cent reply “neither.” When asked who they trusted most to create jobs and reduce unemployment, the two leaders are neck and neck. Some 28 per cent trust Mr Miliband, 27 per cent Mr Cameron and 30 per cent neither.

Under Mr Miliband, Labour has toughened its line on social security. The jobless would lose benefits if they refused a government-guaranteed job after two years, or one year for young people. But the Conservatives have branded Labour “the welfare party” after it did not support the Government’s £26,000-a-year cap on benefit claims by a family.

Kevin Meagher, associate editor of Labour Uncut, described the findings as “politically toxic” and said the party needs to “stop this rot in public trust”.

Writing on The Independent’s website, he warned: “This gap goes to the heart of Labour’s credibility as a party of government, so narrowing it must be a strategic priority.”

He conceded that Labour has started to make the case for a tougher approach, but said it did so “intermittently and behind a cupped hand”.

But a Labour source insisted: “People know Labour’s best for jobs and wages – and only more jobs and better wages can bring down the benefits bill. That’s the argument we’re going to win.”

Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, said: “The last Labour government led us into an economic crisis and still their ‘something for nothing’ welfare policies amount to the same old Labour spending, borrowing and debt – exactly what got us into the mess in the first place. Yet again, this shows that Ed Miliband is on the wrong side of the argument, while the Conservatives are on the side of hard-working families.”

According to YouGov, when people are asked what is the greatest problem with welfare, 55 per cent say that too much money goes to the wrong people; 26 per cent say politicians and the media distort the truth and 11 per cent think the system is not generous enough to those in need. Asked who does not get a fair deal from welfare, 32 per cent name pensioners, 20 per cent the low paid, 19 per cent the disabled, 10 per cent families with children and 4 per cent the unemployed.

When asked who they trusted to ensure benefits reach the people who really deserve them, 26 per cent name Mr Miliband, 27 per cent Mr Cameron and 31 per cent reply “neither.”

YouGov interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,593 adults online between 30 August and 4 September.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us