Labour bounces back after post-Budget poll blow

Labour has rebuilt its lead over the Tories following a post-Budget poll bounce, with the party now five points ahead.

The Guardian/ICM poll put Labour on 37%, down one, the Tories on 32%, down three, the Lib Dems unchanged on 12% and Ukip up two points on 11%.

The return of a relatively solid lead for Labour will worry Tories, who are fretting over a vote-less economic recovery.

That proposition will be tested today if, as expected, official figures show British workers are about to enjoy their first real-terms pay rise in four years, with wages finally overtaking inflation.

Statistics showed inflation dropped to 1.6% in March, down from 1.7% in February, while annual wage growth is thought to have been 1.8% in February.

It is the third consecutive month inflation has been below the Bank of England's two per cent target rate.

But in an interview with the Guardian, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said that people would still not feel better off by the time they went to the polls in 2015.

"Over the coming weeks, we can expect ministers to start telling us that the cost of living crisis is over," he said.

"Will people buy it? I don't think so. Because for most families in Britain today, such a declaration, on the back of a handful of economic statistics, will only confirm just how out of touch this government is."

The poll shows the Tory economic team of David Cameron and George Osborne easily beats the Labour team of Balls and Ed Miliband for trustworthiness by 40% to 22%.

But Tory strategists will be concerned that the decisive Tory poll victory on economic management refuses to translate into an overall lead.

Ukip voters provide a clue as to why. It's supporters trust the Tories more than Labour on the economy by 54% to five per cent, but they refuse to vote Conservative.

ICM polling on the European election showed a strong lead for Labour on 36%,  compared to 25% for the Tories (unchanged) and 20% for Ukip (unchanged). The Lib Dems languished behind on just six per cent.