Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Half of UK 'not feeling growth'

George Osborne has said the UK is now 'on the path to prosperity' but the study found half of Britons have not felt any benefit

Almost half of British people are feeling no benefit from the recent run of economic growth, according to a new survey.

In a worrying finding for the Government, the Ipsos Mori poll found that 48% said the upturn has had no impact on their standard of living, while just 14% said they had noticed a fair amount or a great deal of improvement.

Meanwhile, more people (33%) said that they expect their own financial circumstances to get worse over the next year than believe they will improve (23%). A large majority (77%) said they do not expect economic growth to have much impact on their standard of living over the coming 12 months.

Nine months of GDP growth, culminating in a healthy 0.8% increase recorded in the third quarter of 2013, have given the Government hope that it will be rewarded by voters at the 2015 election for its stewardship of the economy. Chancellor George Osborne has said the UK is now "on the path to prosperity", while Bank of England governor Mark Carney this week claimed that the recovery "has finally taken hold".

But the new survey will give ammunition to Labour leader Ed Miliband, who argues that - despite the headline figure - most families are no better off, because of a cost-of-living crisis caused by prices rising faster than wages.

Despite the good economic news, Labour restored its lead over the Conservatives in the poll, rising three points to 38% since October, while Tories fell three to 32%. Liberal Democrat support fell one point to 8%, neck-and-neck with the UK Independence Party, down two points on 8%.

Conservatives were most trusted on the economy by 36% to Labour's 24%. But more of those questioned trusted Labour (31%) than Conservatives (23%) to reduce their family's cost of living.

The political importance of household bills for fuel, energy and other essentials was underlined as 66% said they would prefer the Government to take action to make them cheaper, against 28% who said the priority should be cutting income tax.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos Mori, said: "The feel-good factor still lags behind the official recovery, as this survey also shows the contested ground between the two main parties.

"The Conservatives' natural territory is on growing the economy, Labour's is on reducing the cost of living, but the two are neck-and-neck on being trusted to ensure people benefit from a growing economy."

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