Drop in Brown support since Pre-Budget

Gordon Brown’s level of support as the best leader to take Britain through the recession has dropped sharply since the Pre-Budget Report, a poll showed today.

A Populus poll for the Times put Mr Brown on 42 per cent for being the best leader “right now, to deal with Britain’s economy in recession”.

That figure is substantially down from November 9th, when it stood at 52 per cent.

He remains ahead of Tory leader David Cameron, who is up four points on 36 per cent.

Mr Cameron retains his overall lead, however, by 41 to 33 per cent.

Only a third of those questioned thought the government package would make things better in the short or long term, with a roughly equal number of people saying it would make no difference.

Fewer than a fifth believe the measures will make things worse in the short term.

Worryingly for the government, only a fifth of those polled said they would spend any money they acquired through the Pre-Budget Report, the centrepiece of which was a cut in VAT to 15 per cent.

More than half the public – 54 per cent – said they would save the money while 28 per cent said they would use it to catch up on bills.

There was widespread support for the introduction of a new top rate of income tax, with two-thirds saying it is fair to tax the rich to alleviate the effects of recession.

But the polls showed signs of contradictory thought on the stalls of the two main parties.

Respondents split by 44 per cent to 50 per cent when asked if it would be better to cut back on public spending rather than raise taxes on high earners.