Sunak dragged as 32% of Tory voters say living standards worse

  • Post last modified:May 21, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

New polling has revealed that just one in seven people (14%) think their living standards are improving this year. Nearly six in 10 people say living standards have not got better this year and nearly four in 10 say they have got worse. Damningly for Rishi Sunak, almost a third (32%) of people who voted Conservative in the 2019 election say their living standards have worsened.

The poll of 2,137 adults – carried out for the Trades Union Congress (TUC) by YouGov – shows that almost four in 10 (38%) think their living standards have got worse in 2024.

And nearly six in 10 (58%) respondents think their living standards have got worse or there has been no change and their living standards “were bad before and still are”.

Pressure on family budgets

The poll also reveals the pressure on incomes from the ongoing cost of living crisis:

Spending on essentials: four in 10 (42%) say they’ve cut back on essentials like food and utility spending this year. And this number rises to nearly one in two (47%) for women.

Cutting back on non-essentials: six in 10 (60%) say they have cut back on non-essential spending like dining out and entertainment since the beginning of the year.

Falling behind on bills: Around a fifth (19%) of respondents say they have fallen behind on household bills this year – a number that rises to over one in four (28%) for people aged 18-24.

Taking on additional debt: Over quarter (27%) say have they taken out debt (loans, credit) to cover unexpected bills since the start of the year. This number shoots up to over a third (37%) for adults aged 25-49 – when lots of families raise children.

Sunak is “out of touch”

The TUC says the poll findings show how ”out of touch” Sunak’s government is with ordinary people’s struggles.

The prime minister and chancellor have repeatedly claimed that the economy “has turned the corner”. And last month health minister Andrea Leadsom declared the cost of living crisis is ending and “everyone is cheered up”.

The TUC highlighted on Friday 17 May that UK families have suffered the highest price rises (inflation) in the G7 over the last two years – leaving many budgets stretched to breaking point.

The union body says the pressure on household incomes has been compounded by 14 years of pay stagnation with real wages still worth less than in 2008.

The TUC estimates that people would be over £10,000 a year better off, on average, if pay had grown at pre-crisis trends.

And according to analysis of the latest OBR forecasts average household debt is set to increase by £1,600 this year.

A “damning indictment”

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said:

UK households have been hammered by the highest price rises in the G7. So the idea that people should be feeling cheerful for inflation easing is for the birds.

This polling shows how out of touch this Conservative government is with people’s struggles.

The reason this cost of living crisis has hit families so hard is because wages have flatlined over the last 14 years.

Pay packets are still worth less today than in 2008, and working people are on course to end this parliament poorer than at the start.

This a damning indictment of the Tories’ economic record.

We need a new approach – a proper plan to get wages rising by investing in UK industry. And we need a new deal for working people, so they get a fair share of the wealth they create.

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