Public doubting coalition’s plan A

By Ruth Mckee

Most people in the UK think the government is doing a bad job of managing the economy, as concerns mount over soaring inflation coupled with rising unemployment.

An Ipsos Mori poll out today revealed that confidence in the economy is at its lowest point since December 2008, when the global recession was at its height as a result of the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

According to the poll, most people in Britain think the government is failing on every aspect of the economy, with almost three quarters of respondents telling pollsters they think the government is failing to keep unemployment down and three in five believe the government has completely failed to manage taxation and public expenditure.

Worries over pensions and job prospects are also key concerns of those polled with a third fearing they would not be able to retire as planned and an almost equal number anxious about job prospects for their children.

The results will come as a blow to the coalition, who will be aware of the comparison with Labour's first year in office, when 60% of voters broadly supported the economic policies of that government.

But there is little in the polling data to give hope to their Labour counterparts as only 20% think that the economy would fare any better under Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

In a further indictment of the public's belief that the PM's deficit reduction plan is not working, the poll reveals that there is widespread pessimism over Britain's economic prospects with 57% of people believing the economy will get worse in the coming months, rather than improve.

In fact, the polling data shows that people are more worried about the economy affecting their day-to-day lives now than they were in February 2009.

“As David Cameron joins European leaders to discuss the eurozone crisis it is clear that the economy is the number one issue among the British public – and concern about its impact on daily lives is increasing," said Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos Mori.

The evidence from the poll seems to suggest that people are resigned to a dire economic outlook, regardless of which party is in power. Half of respondents believe the situation would be exactly the same under Labour.