A poll shows after the Budget, the Conservatives have their strongest lead in eight years

Emma Haslett
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Smile, Theresa: The Conservatives are doing better than ever (Source: Getty)

Philip Hammond's Budget speech may have led to angry headlines, but many voters shrugged off his controversial plans to hike national insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed, a new poll has shown.

The poll, conducted by YouGov for The Times, showed 47 per cent of voters supported Hammond's decision to raise £2bn by hiking NICs for those working for themselves, although a third said it was the "wrong priority".

The poll gave the Conservatives a 19-point lead over Labour, the party's biggest lead since May 2009, when it was still in opposition. According to the results, the Conservatives currently have 44 per cent of the vote, while Labour is on 25 per cent and Ukip is at 11 per cent, just ahead of the Liberal Democrats' 10 per cent.

A quarter of those polled said Hammond was doing a good job, while 21 per cent said he was doing badly. That left just over half who said they had not yet formed an opinion.

Hammond has been accused of breaking a manifesto pledge by hiking NICs for the self-employed - and the poll showed 55 per cent of voters believed this was true.

However, 61 per cent of those quizzed said they supported help for small businesses affected by the business rates revaluation, while 81 per cent backed Hammond's £2bn fund for social care.

Just 56 per cent backed the new T-level technical qualifications.

Voting intentions

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