Friday 10 September 2021 1:15 pm

Support for Conservative party lags behind Labour days after NI tax hike

Support for prime minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party has slumped to its lowest level since 2019’s election, according to a new YouGov poll.

The poll, first shared with the Times, showed that support for the Conservatives has dipped to 33 per cent, while Labour’s support has climbed to 35 per cent.

While it is just one poll, Labour inching ahead of Johnson’s party for the first time since January, comes just days after the Conservative government breached their manifesto twice in one day.

Johnson hiked National Insurance taxes by 1.25 per cent for workers on Wednesday, after the party voted in favour of the measure 319 to 248.

The pensions triple lock is set to be paused, denying older Briots of a near eight per cent rise in pension payments for the next financial year.

Whether or not the poll signals a material support issue for Johnson’s government is yet to be seen, but culture minister Oliver Dowden has since batted off concerns, telling Sky News this morning: “Opinion polls come and go, what the government is doing is taking the long-term decisions in the national interest

“In the end electorates reward governments who are willing to take difficult decisions in order to protect the national interest.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said earlier on in the week that the so-called “health and social care levy” was unfair on working people.

The opposition leader added: “Under his plan, a landlord renting out dozens of properties won’t pay a penny more, while their tenants in work will face tax rises of hundreds of pounds a year.”

However, the tax hike’s opposition was bipartisan, with Conservative MPs also chiming in their lack of support for the levy that is set to raise £12bn a year for the NHS and social care funding.

Conservative MP Jake Berry, chair of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, said: “It is fundamentally un-Conservative and in the long term it will massively damage the prospects of our party because we will never outbid the Labour party in the arms race of an NHS tax and that’s why I don’t think this is the right way to do it.”

The support poll also revealed a generational divide, with less than half of those under 50 feeling as though the taxes they pay reflect the public services they receive, compared with 60 per cent of those past the age of retirement.