Labour and Conservatives Accused of Ignoring Public Concerns about Cost-of-Living Crisis

Labour and the Conservatives have been criticized for not addressing the public’s concerns about the cost-of-living crisis. According to polling data, fewer than 25% of people believe that tackling this issue is a priority for both parties. Swing voters from key demographics, known as “Workington man” and “Stevenage woman,” are skeptical about the parties’ proposals to alleviate cost pressures.

The poll conducted by YouGov among 2,000 adults found that 40% of respondents viewed Labour as better positioned to tackle the crisis, compared to the Conservatives’ 21%. However, only 23% and 21% of voters respectively believed that both parties prioritized addressing the issue.

A coalition of pressure groups called Stop the Squeeze highlighted the need for bolder solutions from leaders Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak. The poll found that policies such as cutting energy prices, raising the minimum wage, and reducing housing costs were more favorable among voters than tax cuts.

The survey revealed that the cost of living is the second-most pressing issue for voters, following closely behind healthcare. With winter approaching, energy bills are expected to be higher this year, but there is currently no government support to mitigate the increase.

The report titled “The Bottom Line” criticized the lack of serious policy beyond the Conservative target to halve inflation. Regarding Labour, the report stated that the party lacked a “retail offer” on the cost of living, which could provide immediate benefits to voters. Nevertheless, investments in home insulation and renewables were highlighted as important policies for long-term economic security.

The poll also segmented voters into key demographics, including older voters in the north of England (Workington man) and economically insecure suburban-dwellers (Stevenage woman). Bolder policies aimed at addressing the cost of living resulted in a 14% swing of support from the Stevenage woman demographic. Workington man-type voters were more inclined to support policies that brought down energy prices rather than tax cuts.

Despite the findings, the report suggested that a Conservative comeback was still possible, citing the party’s success in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip byelection in June. Labour defended its offering, acknowledging potential spending constraints due to Conservative economic mismanagement. The party has pledged to decrease VAT on home energy bills, reduce small business rates, and focus on homegrown energy and home insulation.

The government has provided additional payments to individuals on certain benefits or tax credits, with more payments promised in the coming years. The Conservatives stressed their commitment to the prime minister’s five priorities, including halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting waiting lists, and addressing illegal immigration.