Inflation imperils Boris Johnson’s grip on power
Brits forego heating and stay home because of surging prices, say handling of cost crisis will be top election issue, poll shows
A new poll suggests UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is likely headed for defeat in the country’s next election unless he can begin to convince voters that his party has the right leadership to ease an inflation crisis that is eating away at their standard of living.
The poll, conducted by Savanta ComRes for the Daily Mail and released on Saturday, revealed that only 24% of voters see Johnson’s Tories as the best party to manage the inflation crisis, compared with 39% who chose the opposition Labour Party. Dealing with surging prices will be the top election issue, the survey showed, as 90% of respondents said it will be an important factor in their vote.
Inflation accelerated to a 40-year high of 9% in the 12 months to April, the UK government reported this week, crimping the lifestyles of most Brits. Six in 10 voters have already begun spending more time at home rather than going out, and 51% are wearing more layers of clothing to avoid using their heaters, the Daily Mail poll showed.
With petrol and diesel prices rising to all-time highs, 44% of voters have turned to walking and cycling more instead of driving. Three in 10 have canceled subscriptions, such as streaming services and gym memberships.
The poll found that many voters have been forced to take more drastic steps, including 21% who skipped meals regularly and 20% who borrowed money from family or friends. Meanwhile, 11% have stopped making loan payments, and 19% have either gone to a food bank or thought about doing so to put meals on the table.
As for who voters blame for the inflation crisis, the top choice was the UK government at 25%, the poll found. This was followed by the Russia-Ukraine conflict at 22%, and the Covid-19 pandemic at 20%. A whopping 74% said the UK economy is worse than it was six months ago.
Brits are looking to the government to help them get through the crisis, with 73% calling for a higher minimum wage, 72% favoring cuts to fuel taxes, and 65% supporting acceleration of a planned reduction in income taxes. Strong majorities also called for reducing environmental levies on energy bills and scrapping a planned increase in national insurance premiums. About 75% said the government should impose a windfall tax on the profits of energy companies.
The poll showed that 40% of respondents plan to vote for the Labour Party in the next election, while 34% favor Johnson’s Conservative Party. The remaining 26% intend to vote for minor opposition parties.