United Kingdom

Conservatives lose lead after Granny Tax budget


For the first time since the general election in 2010 the Conservatives have lost their lead over the main opposition Labour Party.

In a poll by ICM Research published in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper yesterday the Conservatives were standing on 37%, down two percentage points and Labour were on 38%, up two percentage points. The coalition government partners, the Liberal Democratic Party were on 13%, also down two percentage points.

The news will be disappointing for Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne. Osborne presented his 2012 budget on Wednesday and immediately fell into a storm of protest over his so called Granny Tax.

Voters in particular dislike the £3.3 billion move to cut pensioners’ allowances (Granny Tax), the move to cut the top rate of tax from 50 pence to 45 pence and the decision to go ahead with moves to raise fuel duty by three pence a litre.

Of those questioned, 56% were against cutting the top rate of income tax, 63% opposed the changes to pensions and 88% opposed the rise in fuel duty.

At a time when the coalition government appears to be under considerable strain as Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers start to disagree in public this will not be welcome news for the prime minister. There were further revelations yesterday that a Conservative Party treasurer had been caught suggesting that potential donors could gain access to the prime minister for £250,000 donations.

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