Rishi Sunak is most popular chancellor since Gordon Brown

Chancellor’s approval rating ‘envy’ of Westminster’ says YouGov – but £10 meal deal is least popular mini-budget move

Adam Forrest
Friday 10 July 2020 11:24 BST
Rishi Sunak serves customers the wrong order at Wagamamas

Rishi Sunak is the most popular chancellor since Gordon Brown was in charge at No 11 in the early noughties, a new poll suggests.

Fresh from revealing his £30bn rescue package, the current chancellor’s approval rating has reached heights not seen the leading New Labour figure was at the Treasury 15 years ago.

Five times as many people approve than disapprove of the measures announced in Mr Sunak’s statement this week, with 59 per cent now thinking he is doing a good job as chancellor.

It makes him very easily the most well-like politician to hold the role since Mr Brown held the role in the run up to the 2005 election, when his approval rating peaked at 67 per cent.

George Osborne’s popularity hit 49 per cent shortly after the Tories’ 2010 election win, while Mr Osborne’s successor Philip Hammond never reached more than 25 per cent approval and Mr Sunak’s predecessor Sajid Javid only peaked at 19 per cent.

The British public largely welcomed six of the key policies announced on Wednesday, with a whopping 80 per cent backing the VAT cut in the hospitality sector and the minimum wage apprenticeship scheme for 16 to 24 year-olds.

The least popular policy was the new “eat out to help out” half-price discount at restaurants and fast food outlets. However, 48 per cent still thought it was a good idea, while 39 per cent consider it the “wrong priority”.

Some 41 per cent of the public think the chancellor got the balance “just about right” with his mini-Budget. Only 5 per cent thought he “went too far”, while 29 per cent believe the measures didn’t go far enough.

Mr Sunak’s poll ratings throughout the coronavirus crisis suggest he is the most popular politician in the country.

Savanta ComRes’s monthly political tracker found Mr Sunak’s net favourability of +29 in May and +26 in June – far ahead of any other cabinet member and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Chris Curtis, political research manager at YouGov said “as things currently stand the measures have been warmly welcomed by the public, and the chancellor’s popularity with the public will be the envy of all across Westminster”.

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