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Despite tax cuts, UK’s Sunak sees popularity slump – poll

© Reuters. British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street on the day of the Spring Statement, in London, Britain, March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak’s popularity with the public has fallen sharply after a package of tax cuts announced this week failed to relieve concerns about the soaring cost of living, an opinion poll showed on Friday.

Sunak is seen as a leading contender to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but his popularity has steadily fallen since a peak in March 2020, when he first announced generous COVID-19 support measures, according to polling firm YouGov (LON:YOU).

Sunak’s net popularity – the difference between respondents with a favourable and unfavourable view of his performance – has slumped to -15% from -5% just before Wednesday’s Spring Statement on the public finances, the YouGov survey showed.

For the first time since Sunak became finance minister in February 2020, a majority of the public polled on March 23-24 judged he was doing a bad job.

Government budget forecasts show living standards over the coming financial year are on course to suffer their biggest fall since records began in 1956, with inflation likely to peak at nearly 9% near the end of this year.

Sunak announced cuts to fuel duty and an increase in the amount of earnings exempt from social security contributions, but analysts said this would do little to soften the impact of soaring energy bills, especially for the poorest households.

However Sunak is still better liked than his boss – Johnson has a net popularity rating of -34%.

Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer’s net popularity fell to -21%, while foreign secretary Liz Truss – another contender to succeed Johnson if Conservative lawmakers lose faith in his election-winning ability – saw her net popularity fall to -29%.

Despite tax cuts, UK’s Sunak sees popularity slump – poll

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