Ministers try to calm Tory panic as poll shows support slumping amid massive £12bn national insurance raid with nearly two-thirds of voters saying they are NOT a low-tax party – and Labour ahead for the first time since January
- Tory support slumped by five points to lowest level since 2019 General Election
- Labour support increased by one to 35 per cent to highest level since January
- Six in ten said they did not believe Mr Johnson cares about keeping taxes low
Ministers today tried to quell Tory panic as a poll showed support slumping amid the massive £12billion national insurance raid.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden insisted voters will eventually ‘reward’ the government for making tough choices despite YouGov finding a five-point drop in backing for the Conservatives.
The 33 per cent support is the lowest level since the election in 2019, and worryingly for No10 nearly two-thirds said they do not believe keeping taxes low is a priority for Boris Johnson of his party.
Labour was in the lead for the first time since January with 35 per cent – although in a more optimistic sign for the Tories Keir Starmer only managed to soak up one extra point.
In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Dowden tried to shrug off the setback, in research for the Times, saying the government is ‘taking the long-term decisions in the national interest’.
‘I think when you come to the next general election, which is some time away, people will weigh that up,’ he said.
‘And what they will see as a result of this is, because we have put the extra money into the NHS, we have avoided a crisis in the NHS, we have increased capacity in the NHS and we have finally, after many governments previously ducked this challenge of social care – I remember 10, 15 years ago we were talking about this – finally the Prime Minister has actually done something about this.
‘And I think, in the end, the electorate reward governments who are willing to take difficult decisions in order to protect the long-term national interest, and that is what that decision is all about.’
Conservative support plummeted five points to 33 per cent while Labour’s share increased by one point to 35 per cent, putting Sir Keir Starmer’s party ahead of the Tories for the first time since January
Backing for the Tories among voters has fallen to its lowest level since the 2019 General Election while support for Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour rose after MPs lined up to support Boris Johnson’s manifesto-busting £12billion tax raid, according to a YouGov poll
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden insisted voters will eventually ‘reward’ the government for taking tough decisions
Mr Johnson’s dramatic move to bail out the NHS and overhaul social care with an eye-watering hike in national insurance sailed through the Commons by 319 to 248. Threats of a major Conservative revolt melted away after Downing Street hinted at a reshuffle and made some minor tweaks to the policy
Six in ten voters said they did not believe Mr Johnson or the Conservatives cared about keeping taxes low compared with around two in ten who believed that they do care.
The poll also found that more than three-quarters of all Tory voters believe the party does not support low taxation, while one per cent voters think the plans to fund an overhaul of social care will leave them better off.
The YouGov survey suggests the Government’s plans to hike National Insurance and increase dividend taxes, intended to plug a funding shortfall in the NHS and properly finance social care, has backfired among voters.
Anthony Wells, political research director at YouGov, said: ‘It looks as if the Government may have sacrificed their reputation for low taxes amongst Tory voters without actually getting much credit for helping the NHS.’
One Tory MP for a ‘Red Wall’ seat told MailOnline they were not currently detecting a huge backlash from voters about the tax raid – and pointed to Labour’s failure to pick up the support shed by the Tories in the poll.
However, they added grimly: ‘The idea that people always think the NHS should have more money and nurses should have pay rises is about to change now that people realise they have to pay for it.’
Tories on the Right of the party had expressed fears that the Prime Minister’s massive £12billion tax raid will simply be swallowed up after just five MPs rebelled against the plans.
Mr Johnson’s dramatic move to bail out the NHS and overhaul social care with an eye-watering hike in national insurance sailed through the Commons by 319 to 248 on Wednesday.
Threats of a major Conservative revolt melted away after Downing Street hinted at a reshuffle and made some minor tweaks to the policy.
In the end only Esther McVey, John Redwood, Christopher Chope, Philip Davies and Neil Hudson opposed the government. Another 37 Tories did not vote, including a number of ‘Red Wall’ MPs who have been deeply concerned about the proposals.
The Government’s working majority of more than 80 was barely trimmed to 71 even though Cabinet ministers and many MPs have been privately alarmed that Mr Johnson is abandoning a manifesto promise and taking the tax burden to record peacetime levels.
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