Exclusive

Exclusive: Vote of no confidence in Tory economic policies

Poll lead slips to 7 points as vast majority of voters say Cameron should be clearer about plans for cuts

Labour is closing the gap with the Conservatives amid public doubts about David Cameron's economic policies, according to a poll for
The Independent.

The ComRes survey found that 82 per cent of people want Mr Cameron to be clearer about what he would do on the economy – including 82 per cent of Tory supporters. Only 24 per cent believe the recession would have ended sooner if the Tories had been in power, while 69 per cent do not.

The findings came as the Tories tried to fight off Labour claims that Mr Cameron had made a U-turn over when cuts in public spending should start. The Tory leader has denied that his party would make "swingeing cuts" in the 2010-11 financial year after official figures last week showed only a fragile economic recovery. George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, who has promised early cuts, will seek to end the apparent confusion in a keynote speech today. According to ComRes, the Tories' nine-point lead over Labour has dropped to seven points in the past month. It puts the Tories on 38 per cent (unchanged since last month), Labour on 31 per cent (up two points), the Liberal Democrats on 19 per cent (no change) and other parties on 12 per cent (down two). If repeated at a general election, these figures would leave Mr Cameron 24 seats short of an overall majority in a hung parliament.

The Tories are 16 points ahead among men but trail Labour by four points among women. There are signs that Labour is winning back its traditional supporters. It has a lead of 44 to 33 per cent among the bottom DE social group.

Some of the ComRes findings suggest that the Tories are not making as much progress as they would wish on the key economic battleground.

However, Mr Cameron is ahead of Gordon Brown on the issue. Only 40 per cent of people say they trust Mr Brown more than Mr Cameron to help Britain's economy to recover, while 52 per cent do not.

And most voters seem in no mood to give Labour credit for the tentative recovery. Only 37 per cent believe Labour can take the credit for getting Britain out of recession, while 59 per cent disagree.

Yesterday Lord Mandelson attacked the "confusion and disarray" over the Tories' economic strategy. He described Mr Cameron as "bobbing around like a cork in water" and portrayed him and Mr Osborne as a "Laurel and Hardy duo". The Business Secretary said: "David Cameron should level with the British people. If he refuses to be clear, if he will not be honest, people will conclude that – for electoral reasons – he is hiding the truth and that the Conservatives' proposed cuts will indeed eat into the recovery and throw Britain back into recession and lost jobs."

Lord Mandelson said the Government had "every confidence" the country would not slip back into negative growth but Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, admitted that unemployment was likely to start rising again before the summer.

The Tories hit back, denying that they had ever endorsed big cuts in 2010-11 and insisting that Labour was "in chaos" on the issue. A Tory spokesman said: "Treasury ministers say there will be 'extremely painful' cuts under Labour, but Gordon Brown says spending will carry on rising. Treasury figures already imply 17 per cent cuts in non-protected departments under Labour, but Gordon Brown keeps adding new protected areas without saying where the money is coming from."

He added: "Peter Mandelson couldn't decide whether to attack the Conservatives for cutting too soon or for cutting too little. Perhaps he should spend more time filling the vacuum at the heart of Labour policy."

Mr Osborne will try to steady Tory nerves today amid hotly denied, but potentially dangerous, claims of tension between him and Mr Cameron over how quickly and deeply an incoming Tory government would reduce the £178bn deficit.

In a speech on where the future jobs will come from, Mr Osborne will emphasise his party's commitment to "green growth". He will announce that Lord Stern of Brentford, author of a landmark study on climate change, will advise a Tory working group on the creation of Britain's first Green Investment Bank. Business figures, including Bob Wigley, chairman of Yell Group, will also join the panel.

The shadow Chancellor will argue that Labour's approach to supporting green technology has failed, and as a result the UK is lagging far behind other countries in the £1 trillion market for green goods and services.

ComRes telephoned 1,001 British adults between 29 and 31 January 2010. Data were weighted by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comres.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on