Just two per cent of voters say they have already benefited from the economic recovery and only a further 18 per cent expect to benefit from the recovery during 2014, according to a new TUC-commissioned YouGov poll published today (Tuesday).
A big majority expect the living standards crisis to continue in the new year. Only one in eight (12 per cent) of those in work expect their pay to at least keep up with the cost of living, the same proportion who report that their pay at least kept up with the cost of living during 2013.
Forecasts published alongside the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement earlier this month show that he is planning to keep cutting spending beyond the election, with a target of reducing public spending as a proportion of GDP to the same level it was in 1948 by 2018/19.
But voters do not back plans for a permanently smaller state. More than half (56 per cent) agree with the statement “As the economy grows I want to see most or all of the services that have been cut restored” compared to three in ten (29 per cent) who back “As the economy grows I want to see most or all of the cuts retained.” Even 35 per cent of Conservative voters want to restore services. A slim majority of UKIP voters (47 per cent to 44 per cent) back the restoration of services against cuts.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that 60 per cent of cuts in public services have yet to happen, but voters do not appreciate the scale of the cuts to come. YouGov asked people to say what proportion of cuts have already been implemented. Three in five voters (59 per cent) underestimate the scale of the cuts to come.
Only one in five voters (21 per cent) “expect the gains of an economic recovery to be fairly shared across the country and society.” More than twice as many (58 per cent) “expect the gains of an economic recovery to mainly go to the types of people and parts of the country who are already doing well.”
In her new year message today, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our new poll is bad news for the government. Voters do not expect to benefit from the recovery next year, do not expect their wages to keep up with living costs and do not trust the government to spread the benefits of recovery fairly. Above all they do not share the Chancellor’s ambition to permanently shrink the state. By more than two to one they want to see services restored when the economy grows, not permanently cut.”