Poll suggests Scots support for benefits cap

13 Apr 15

A YouGov poll for the Scottish Conservatives has suggested higher-than-expected support among Scots for the UK coalition’s benefits cap policy.

According to the poll, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Scots back the cap at its current level of £26,000 per household – reflecting the national average income – and more than half (54%) would support Tory proposals to reduce it to £23,000. Fewer than a third of those polled thought current benefits levels to be too low.

It comes in the week after an IpsosMori poll for BBC Scotland found that Scottish voters attached a high priority to Scotland gaining full control of the benefits regime.

The Tories’ opponents have made heavy campaigning play of Conservative plans to cut the benefits bill by a further £12bn in the next Parliament. In the recent TV Leaders’ debate, Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly challenged David Cameron to spell out exactly where the cuts would fall.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats support the principle of the cap, however, and Sturgeon said at the weekend that reforming it was not an SNP priority

The new poll finds majority support for the present cap across all shades of voting intention, with opposition to it strongest among potential LibDem voters. Support for reducing the cap to £23,000 shows at 92% for Tory voters, 51% for Labour, 65% among Lib Dems and 43% for SNP backers.

Scottish Conservative welfare spokesman Alex Johnstone said the poll showed ‘that Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon speak for the minority in failing to reform welfare, and racking up our nation’s debts’.

He added: ‘Indeed on the benefit cap, Nicola Sturgeon and Ed Miliband don’t just speak for the minority, they speak for the minority of their own supporters.

‘Benefits should never discourage people from going out and finding a job. Now we know from this poll that the majority of Scots are on our side.’

  • Keith Aitken
    Keith Aitken

    covers Scottish affairs for Public Finance from Edinburgh. He was formerly economics editor and chief leader writer on The Scotsman and now has a busy freelance career as a writer, broadcaster and event chair.

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