Whilst the general consensus amongst the main UK parties is that spending cuts are essential in order to control the budget deficit, not everyone agrees according to a new poll.

The Syriza Party’s recent victory in Greece, on the back of its anti-austerity campaign promises, has given hope to those in the UK who would also like to see an end to austerity. The Scottish National Party is one party which has come out strongly against austerity measures in recent weeks.

PLMR’s Deputy Managing Director, Elin Twigge, said:

“The example of Syriza and the gauntlet thrown down by the SNP have put austerity front-and-centre of this General Election.”

In light of this, PLMR, a leading public affairs agency, commissioned a ComRes survey to determine the public’s view on how the UK Government should tackle the budget deficit.

The results revealed that almost two-thirds of Britons agree that the next government should continue with some form of spending cuts (61%), but disagreed on the pace of cuts:

  • 30% supported cuts but wanted them slowed down, even if the deficit would be reduced more slowly
  • 24% backed a continuation of the current programme
  • 7% believe the government should speed up the pace of spending cuts

Meanwhile one in ten (10%) think the government should increase public spending regardless of the deficit, while a greater percentage (14%) want spending cuts to be stopped and public spending to be kept at broadly the same level as in 2014/15.

Elin Twigge added:

“Both the Conservative and Labour parties have cited cutting the deficit as a top priority when it comes to managing the UK economy – but their approaches differ in how far and how fast.

“This poll shows that while voters agree that the deficit does need to continue to be cut – they are split on how and when the deficit should be eliminated, with marginally more voters appearing to favour Labour’s approach.

“But a quarter* of voters are challenging the orthodoxy of these austerity measures – altogether a view which is particularly interesting given the recent example of Syriza and the promise by the SNP.”

Q. Below are five suggested approaches to addressing the UK Government’s budget deficit. Which, if any, comes closest to your view of what the government should do over the next two years?

New General Election Poll - Quarter of voters 'want more public spending'
Base: GB adults (n=2,011).

The full poll results can be viewed here.

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