Britons trust ministers on cuts, don't expect fairness: poll

17th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Almost half of Britons think that major cuts in public spending due to be unveiled this week will be unfair but they trust ministers more than the opposition to fix the economy, a poll found Saturday.

Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government is due to unveil plans on Wednesday to cut 83 billion pounds (130 billion dollars, 95 billion euros) in government expenditure by 2014-15 to help pay off a record deficit.

A new poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror newspapers revealed that despite Cameron's vow that the cuts would be fairly distributed, just 30 percent expected them to be "fair" and 43 percent did not.

In particular, 56 percent said they believed cuts in the welfare budget would hit the poorest, the elderly and the most vulnerable in society the hardest -- something Cameron denies -- and just 28 percent said they would not.

Amid government estimates that 600,000 public sector jobs could be lost, the poll also found that just 30 percent believed sacking thousands of people was a price worth paying to balance the books, compared to 47 percent who disagreed.

Instead, there was support for increasing taxes -- 54 percent thought the top 50 percent rate of income tax should be increased to 60 percent.

However, the poll brought some good news for Cameron and his finance minister, George Osborne, with 45 percent of respondents saying they trusted the government to steer the economy out of recession, compared to 23 percent for the new leader of the opposition party, Ed Miliband, and his team.

Polling company ComRes interviewed 2,009 adults between Wednesday and Friday.

© 2010 AFP

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