Voters doubt Tory pledge to spend more on public services – poll

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Fewer than one in three voters believe the Tories are planning to increase spending on public services, suggesting one of the main campaign messages is yet to break through, according to a new YouGov poll for Sky News.

The two biggest parties outlined their spending promises this week, with both pledging to increase investment.

The Tories plan to push up investment spending – money for new hospitals schools and transport – by £20bn a year, while Labour would raise it £55bn a year.

This represents a particularly big shift for the Tories, who fought the 2010 and 2015 elections promising to balance the budget and still had strict fiscal rules in the 2017 campaign.

However, new polling suggests this has yet to leave an impression on many voters.


As part of the Sky News tie-up, pollster YouGov asked the public what they believed would happen to the economy, depending on who won.

Asked how they thought a Labour government would change public spending if they won, 56% said they would spend more, 12% said they would spend the same, 9% said less and 22% said they did not know.

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Of the 56% who said they would spend more, this divides into 21% who think they would spend a “little” more and 35% who think they would spend “much more” than at present.

This suggests the public have noticed a key election pledge by Labour, who benefit from having a broadly similar message to 2017.


Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have a new message on spending, after reversing their position in the last few elections.

The poll suggests that only 30% of voters think the Tories would spend more, 27% think they would spend about the same and 23% say they would spend less. Some 21% say they do not know.

Of those who do believe they will spend more, 23% think it will be a “little” and 7% think it will be “much more”.

This comes after the Tories gave themselves the flexibility to spend £20bn a year more if they win.

This suggests the Tories have more work to do if their key campaign message is to hit home.


YouGov also asked who voters would prefer in Number 11 Downing Street as chancellor.

Sajid Javid is more popular than John McDonnell, with 23% choosing the incumbent Tory chancellor and just 13% choosing his Labour rival.

But much more significantly, 36% say neither, and 29% do not know – suggesting voters are not enthused by either prospect.

Among people who voted Labour in the 2017 general election, less than one in three – 31% – say they want Mr McDonnell in the Treasury, while 50% of past Tory voters want Mr Javid.

The Brexit Election: For the fastest results service and in-depth analysis watch Sky News live from 10pm on Thursday 12 December, with a KayBurley@breakfast election special on Friday 13 December

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