Majority think British spending cuts 'unavoidable': poll

22nd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A majority of British voters believe massive spending cuts to reduce the country's huge deficit are "unavoidable", according to a survey published Friday.

Finance minister George Osborne on Wednesday unveiled measures that will slash 81 billion pounds (91.3 billion euros, 127.1 billion dollars) from the public budget and cost a likely 490,000 jobs.

In a YouGov poll of 1,874 voters for The Sun newspaper, 58 percent said they thought the government's programme of spending cuts was unavoidable, compared to 29 percent who thought they were not.

However, a majority (55 percent) also thought the cuts represented "a desperate gamble with people's livelihoods" and 62 percent expected the squeeze on public spending would affect their own lives.

Opinion was divided between those who thought the government had made wrong decisions about which budgets to trim (41 percent) and those who thought the cuts were being made in the right places (40 percent).

Half of respondents (50 percent) said the cuts were being done "unfairly".

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Friday hit back at a report by the respected Institute of Fiscal Studies think-tank that said the cuts would hit poor families hardest.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Clegg described IFS methods of defining fairness as "distorted and a complete nonsense".

Asked who was to blame for the current spending cuts, the survey found that more people (47 percent) blamed the previous Labour government than the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition (17 percent).

The British government is hoping to slash the 154.7-billion-pound deficit -- equivalent to 11 percent of the kingdom's gross domestic product -- to 1.1 percent of GDP by 2015/16.

Ministries face average cuts of 19 percent except health and overseas aid, which are ring-fenced.

YouGov surveyed 1,874 adults on Wednesday and Thursday.

© 2010 AFP

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