Do the public praise or blame Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt when it comes to inflation?

Who do the public blame or praise on inflation? A new Ipsos poll explores public attitudes to the economy, inflation and Rishi Sunak’s performance in delivering against his 5 key policy pledges announced earlier this year

The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs
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  • Just under half (46%) think Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have contributed to fall in inflation – but Bank of England and global economy generally seen as having more influence.
  • Two-thirds (66%) think actions of Sunak and Hunt have contributed to difficulties facing economy in the first place – but COVID-19 hangover and global economy get even more of the blame.

New polling from Ipsos in the UK, taken before the recent Autumn Statement (Friday 17th to Monday 20th November), explored public attitudes to the economy, inflation and Rishi Sunak’s performance in delivering against his 5 key policy pledges announced earlier this year.

Who do the public credit for falling inflation?

When asked how far various factors have contributed to falling inflation, we find the public are split on the role of Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt. 46% think they have contributed a great deal or fair amount to falling inflation and 43% say they have had not very much impact or have made no contribution at all. Decisions made by the Bank of England (60%) and the state of the global economy generally (58%) are seen to have contributed more.

Ipsos Chart: The public are split on how much of a role decisions made by Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have had on the recent fall in inflation

  • But more people (66%) think that decisions made by current PM Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have contributed to the current difficulties facing the British economy in the first place (68% say the same about the Conservative party’s economic policies during the last 13 years, and the same proportion cite decisions made by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng).  
  • The public are most likely to think the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic (79%) and state of the global economy (73%) have contributed ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ to Britain’s economic woes.

Ipsos Chart: What’s to blame for current difficulties facing the economy? (% A Great Deal/fair amount) COVID 79% Global economy 73% Conservative economic policies 68% Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng 68% Russia invasion of Ukraine 68% Brexit 62% Last Labour Government 41%

The Conservatives and the economy

  • 23% think Jeremy Hunt is doing a good job as Chancellor and 35% think he is doing a bad job. These figures have not changed much this year but last November they were 17% and 29% respectively (meaning that there has been an increase in both those saying good and bad job).
  • Meanwhile, on the cost of living specifically, 20% think Hunt has being doing a good job tackling the cost of living crisis and 45% say he has been doing a bad job. 2019 Conservative voters are split between the 33% saying good job and 32% saying bad.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's pledges

Overall, the public continue to think Sunak’s pledges around easing the cost of living and giving people financial security (61%), reducing NHS waiting times (55%) and ensuring people get the NHS care they need more quicky (52%) are most important to them. Although 2019 Conservative voters also rank pledges around illegal immigration and economic growth as important.

Ipsos Chart: Sunak pledges: The cost of living (72%) and NHS (64%) are priorities for 2019 Labour voters. 2019 Conservatives also prioritise immigration (52%) and growth pledges (45%)

The public also still think Sunak’s government are performing badly against the pledges that are most important to them. 62% think his government are doing a bad job easing the cost of living, 69% think it is doing a bad job reducing NHS waiting lists, 68% say the same about ensuring people get the NHS care they need more quickly.

Ipsos Chart: The public tend to think Rishi Sunak’s government is doing a bad job at delivering on his pledges – especially on the NHS

On the other hand, given recent inflation figures, 27% now think Sunak’s government has done a good job halving inflation this year (+13 points from September) but 43% still think they have done a bad job (down 14 points in the same time period).

Ipsos Director of Politics Keiran Pedley said of the findings:

These findings show that there is some improving public goodwill towards Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt in light of falling inflation but this has not yet led to a fundamental reassessment of the government’s record on the economy. Almost half think Sunak and Hunt have contributed a great deal or fair amount towards falling inflation. However, 6 in 10 still think this government is doing a bad job easing the cost of living and two-thirds think Sunak and Hunt’s actions have contributed towards difficulties facing the economy in the first place.

Technical note
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,142 GB adults aged 16-75. Interviews were conducted online from 17-20 November 2023. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.

The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs

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