Budget cuts knock UK confidence-Reuters/Ipsos MORI

* Confidence in government down as spending cuts made clear

* Support for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg slumps

* Majority of public agrees on spending cuts to reduce debt

By Mohammed Abbas

LONDON, Nov 17 (BestGrowthStock) – Support for Britain’s opposition
Labour party is at its highest level for three years as public
confidence about the economy — and the private sector’s ability
to mop up laid-off public sector workers — continues to ebb.

Satisfaction with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat
coalition government, which has announced a raft of austerity
measures since last month’s Reuters/Ipsos MORI political
monitor, has dropped significantly in the past month.

The November monitor shows only 28 percent of the public
believe the economy will improve in the next year, and four out
of every five doubt the private sector will be able to absorb
public sector employees laid off under government plans.

Britain’s coalition government, led by the Conservative
Party, last month unveiled deep public spending cuts to help
tackle a record budget deficit close to 11 percent of national
output, risking a public backlash and union unrest.

Dissatisfaction with the government, of which the Liberal
Democrat party is the junior partner, has risen to 55 percent
this month from 45 percent just before austerity measures were
unveiled in a spending review on Oct. 20.

If the public were to vote now, the opposition Labour party
would take more of the vote (39 percent) than the Conservatives
(36 percent) or the Liberal Democrats (14 percent), and poll
data showed that support for Labour this month was strongest
since October 2007.

“The (poll) in November shows high levels of concern about
the effects of the spending cuts, particularly to university
tuition fees, local public services and policing,” said Ipsos
MORI’s Helen Cleary.


Graphic of voting intentions http://r.reuters.com/vyg85q



The Lib Dems have been damaged by their reversal on an
election pledge to block a rise in university tuition fees, and
while support for the party is unchanged from October, net
satisfaction among Lib Dems with leader and Deputy Prime
Minister Nick Clegg has almost halved since last month.

Many Liberal Democrats feel that the left-leaning party is
compromising its principles to work with the right-leaning
Conservatives, and among the public in general, about two thirds
believe it is the Conservatives that call shots.

Among supporters of the Conservatives, the Lib Dems and
Labour, the Conservatives are happiest with their leader, Prime
Minister David Cameron. However, his support among the overall
public has fallen to 46 percent from 52 percent in October.

“Satisfaction with the government, Cameron and Clegg
continues to fall. People still think that no party having an
overall majority is a bad thing for the country, and there is
widespread belief that the Conservatives are making most of the
decisions in the coalition,” Cleary said.

Despite falling confidence in the government, the majority
of the public still agrees that there is a need to cut spending
on public services to pay off the national debt.

Technical note

– Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,005
adults aged 18+ across Britain.

– Interviews were conducted by telephone between Nov. 12-14.

– Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas: Editing by Jodie Ginsberg)

Budget cuts knock UK confidence-Reuters/Ipsos MORI