Osborne's got it wrong on the economy, warns public

 

Seven out of 10 people want George Osborne to adopt a "Plan B"
on the economy to give priority to growth rather than spending
cuts, according to a poll for The Independent.

ComRes found that 72 per cent of the public believe it is time for the Coalition to perform a U-turn so that its policy is focused more on promoting growth and less on cuts, while 17 per cent disagree and 11 per cent don't know.

Significantly, 64 per cent of people who voted Conservative at the 2010 general election and 68 per of those who backed the Liberal Democrats want a change of course. So do 86 per cent of people who voted Labour.

The pressure from voters across the political spectrum suggests growing doubts about whether the Coalition's handling of the economy is working, following Britain's slide back into recession.

Although ministers deny they are drawing up a Plan B, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have asked the Treasury to produce more proposals to kickstart the economy through state-backed infrastructure and housing projects.

The growing calls to ease austerity come as the Government said it would backtrack on another high-profile policy – the "pasty tax". This would have made hot pies and other savoury foods subject to VAT, but was perceived by many as an attack on the working class.

Ministers' fears about a prolonged recession have grown because of the crisis in the eurozone. Yesterday David Cameron discussed contingency plans at an hour-long session with Sir Mervyn King, the Bank of England Governor, and Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority.

According to ComRes, Labour enjoys an eight-point lead over the Tories, down slightly on the 10-point advantage in its last telephone poll for The Independent in March. Labour is now on 42 per cent (down one point); the Tories on 34 per cent (up one); the Lib Dems on 11 per cent (no change) and others on 13 per cent (no change).

The poll reveals a huge "gender gap" which suggests that Mr Cameron and his party are losing support among women. Some 40 per cent of male voters back the Conservatives; 39 per cent Labour and 8 per cent Lib Dem. But only 29 per cent of women voters support the Conservatives, while 45 per cent will vote Labour and 14 per cent Lib Dem.

The Tories are ahead among only one age group – those aged 65 and over. Labour leads the Tories across all the social groups including those in the highest AB grade. On the current parliamentary constituency boundaries, these figures would give Labour a majority of 104 if repeated at a general election. Labour would win 377 seats, the Conservatives 230 and the Liberal Democrats would be reduced to just 19. Under the proposed boundaries due to take effect at the 2015 election, Labour would emerge with a majority of 86, winning 343 seats to the Tories' 224.

Ministers insist they still enjoy public support for the Coalition's core mission to reduce the deficit. But the poll findings will encourage Labour as it steps up its demands for a "Plan B".

Mr Cameron has rejected the "austerity versus growth" debate as a false choice. He was accused of changing horses after siding with François Hollande, the Socialist French President elected on a "growth" ticket, against Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, at this month's G8 and EU summits.

ComRes interviewed 1,001 adults in Britain by telephone from 25-28 May. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults.

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
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
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

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker / Telesales

£15000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - Dereham

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - OTE £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

Recruitment Genius: Audit Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Graduate Opportunities are available at a lead...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
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