A majority of the British public want an end to the age of austerity and for Theresa May to focus the Government on boosting public spending, a poll for The Independent has revealed.
The ComRes survey showed more than half of people think the Treasury should loosen its purse strings in coming years, while less than a quarter back more cuts.
But people’s ongoing feeling of uncertainty around Brexit is also laid bare, as they support delaying the biggest spending decisions until the UK has agreed an EU withdrawal deal.
It comes just weeks ahead of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s critical first Autumn Statement, in which he will shine a light on the Government’s economic strategy for facing what he has admitted could be tough times ahead.
In a boost for both the Prime Minister and Mr Hammond, a clear majority of people told ComRes pollsters they trusted the pair to run the British economy more than Labour rivals Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.
Almost half also said they had more faith in Ms May and Mr Hammond than predecessors David Cameron and George Osborne.
Since coming to power Ms May has signalled a shift away from the monetary policy that defined the Cameron/Osborne era.
The Prime Minister used her October conference speech to say that while super-low interest rates and quantitative easing had been necessary medicine in the wake of the 2008 crash, they had also resulted in “bad side effects” for working families, who did not own assets and were trying to save.
Her shift even led to a clash with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who has since announced he is to leave his job in 2019.
At the same Tory conference, Mr Hammond indicated he was ready to start borrowing more money to pay for big infrastructure schemes.
Some 53 per cent of people said they agreed with the statement “the Government should prioritise increasing public spending over the next few years”, compared to just 23 per cent who agreed with “The Government should prioritise cutting public spending over the next few years.
With Mr Hammond having warned of a “roller coaster” economic journey as Brexit talks begin, the same amount of people, 53 per cent, thought the biggest decisions should be delayed until a deal is set in stone with EU states, while 30 per cent thought they should go ahead.
Meanwhile, 55 per cent agreed with the sentence “I trust Theresa May and Philip Hammond more than Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to run the country's economy”, compared to just 22 per cent who thought the opposite.
What experts have said about Brexit
What experts have said about Brexit
1/11 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
The Chancellor claims London can still be a world financial hub despite Brexit “One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs” “This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”
2/11 Yanis Varoufakis
Greece's former finance minister compared the UK relations with the EU bloc with a well-known song by the Eagles: “You can check out any time you like, as the Hotel California song says, but you can't really leave. The proof is Theresa May has not even dared to trigger Article 50. It's like Harrison Ford going into Indiana Jones' castle and the path behind him fragmenting. You can get in, but getting out is not at all clear”
3/11 Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss says UK will be ‘screwed’ by EU in Brexit trade deals: “I have no faith in the politicians in London going on about how ‘the world will want to trade with us’. The world will want to screw you – that's what happens in trade talks,” he said. “They have no interest in giving the UK a deal on trade”
4/11 Tim Martin
JD Wetherspoon's chairman has said claims that the UK would see serious economic consequences from a Brexit vote were "lurid" and wrong: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea"
5/11 Mark Carney
Governor of Bank of England is 'serene' about Bank of England's Brexit stance: “I am absolutely serene about the … judgments made both by the MPC and the FPC”
6/11 Christine Lagarde
IMF chief urges quick Brexit to reduce economic uncertainty: “We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making”
7/11 Inga Beale
Lloyd’s chief executive says Brexit is a major issue: "Clearly the UK's referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focusing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd's continues trading across Europe”
8/11 Colm Kelleher
President of US bank Morgan Stanley says City of London ‘will suffer’ as result of the EU referendum: “I do believe, and I said prior to the referendum, that the City of London will suffer as result of Brexit. The issue is how much”
9/11 Richard Branson
Virgin founder believes we've lost a THIRD of our value because of Brexit and cancelled a deal worth 3,000 jobs: We're not any worse than anybody else, but I suspect we've lost a third of our value which is dreadful for people in the workplace.' He continued: "We were about to do a very big deal, we cancelled that deal, that would have involved 3,000 jobs, and that’s happening all over the country"
10/11 Barack Obama
US President believes Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU: "It is absolutely true that I believed pre-Brexit vote and continue to believe post-Brexit vote that the world benefited enormously from the United Kingdom's participation in the EU. We are fully supportive of a process that is as little disruptive as possible so that people around the world can continue to benefit from economic growth"
11/11 Kristin Forbes
American economist and an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England argues that the economy had been “less stormy than many expected” following the shock referendum result: “For now…the economy is experiencing some chop, but no tsunami. The adverse winds could quickly pick up – and merit a stronger policy response. But recently they have shifted to a more favourable direction”
Ms May and Mr Hammond enjoyed a greater lead on the economy over their Labour rivals than Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne had.
The current Prime Minister and Chancellor also beat their predecessors on the economy by 48 per cent to 18 per cent.
The country was evenly split when it came to deciding priorities in any Brexit deal with EU states. Some 42 per cent backed single market access over immigration control, and 43 per cent supporting the opposite position.
ComRes interviewed 2,038 GB adults online on 9 and 10 November 2016. 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. Full tables on the ComRes website.
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