David Cameron’s 10 Downing Street has an unusual setup — it has a pollster, Andrew Cooper, as its chief strategist. This helps explain why the government is (to put it politely) more able than its predecessors to modify its policy positions to align with the nation’s priorities. Cooper’s polls are showing that pretty much the most popular thing this government has done so far is impose a £26,000 cap on benefits. Indeed, if there were more welfare cuts, his polls show, they would also be popular. So the government can save money and win votes! Quite some trick.
Today the PM is proposing to cut housing benefit from the under-25s, saving an estimated £2bn. There is also talk of lowering the cap – which comes in next year — to £22,000, which would save even-more billions. Iain Duncan Smith has started to grow wary of this in recent months, and rejected Steve Hilton’s recent idea to cut corporation tax to 15 per cent funded by welfare cuts. Tax is now raised up to, and probably beyond the levels that Britain can tolerate. If the government needs money in a hurry, you can expect welfare to be the first budget to be raided.Tags: Andrew Cooper, Polls, Welfare reform