Cynicism setting in over spending cuts

By staff

The public’s attitude to the coalition government’s austerity drive is hardening, a new poll suggests.

Research by ComRes for the Independent on Sunday newspaper showed ministers’ were losing their struggle to keep the public onside over the sweeping spending cuts of the comprehensive spending review.

Most worryingly for the coalition’s popularity prospects, the percentage of respondents who believed the need for cuts at the current scale had been exaggerated for party political reasons continued to creep upwards, from 37% in November to 39% in December and 41% now.

The percentage of respondents who felt the scale of planned cuts is too severe and too fast rose from 51% to 57% from November to January.

Those believing the cuts were being implemented in a way which is fair to every section of society fell from 32% to 25% in the same period.

And the percentage of those expecting to be personally worse off as a result of the spending cuts increased from 65% to 69%.

The coalition will be worried but perhaps not surprised by the figures, which follow a raft of news stories documenting the full extent of the budget cuts across government departments and the wider public sector.

Yesterday justice secretary Ken Clarke hinted that he believed the trend was only likely to continue – as “Middle England” had not yet realised quite how sweeping the spending cuts will be.