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British voters back Hollande’s anti-austerity agenda

Press release
Embargoed until 00.01 Friday, 25 May, 2012

A new survey, showing overwhelming support from British voters for the anti-austerity policies championed by the new Socialist President of France, has been released by The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) today (Friday, 25 May).

Despite 69 per cent of those surveyed being unaware that 90 per cent of Government spending cuts are yet to take effect, the results show overwhelming support for anti-austerity policies championed by Hollande, which include a raft of measures to kick-start growth; expand educational opportunities for young people; redistribute wealth; and embark on a house building programme of 500,000 extra homes a year. Furthermore the results show that 50 per cent of those who voted for the Conservatives at the last election think the redistribution of wealth from the richest in society is important.

The result of the survey will be unveiled at Class’s launch seminar: Towards 2015 - Strategies for Jobs and Growth in London tomorrow (Saturday, 26 May).

While reducing the deficit is considered ‘very important’ or ‘fairly important’ by 85 per cent of those polled, 95 per cent consider creating jobs and reducing unemployment, and encouraging economic growth as  ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important.

Measures that are supported to get the economy moving include:

  • establishing a publicly-owned bank that will lend to small and medium businesses (74 per cent strongly support or tend to support)
  • providing more financial support for young people from low income families, so they can better afford to go to college or university (73 per cent strongly support or tend to support
  • a national programme of building 500,000 extra homes a year, including 150,000 new council houses (64 per cent strongly support or tend to support)

Class’s survey follows hard on the heels of this week’s warning by Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF that the UK’s growth is too slow and unemployment is too high – and that policies to boost demand are needed.

Class’s chair, Steve Hart said:

“The results from this survey show that the consensus behind austerity-focused economic policy has well and truly collapsed. Across Britain and Europe there is now an unmistakable demand for a radical economic alternative to austerity and British people are now searching for new and braver ideas from politicians.”

Class’s policy and media advisor and Independent columnist, Owen Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, said:

“'Even though most of the Government's ideologically-driven cuts agenda has yet to come, the British people have had enough. This poll show huge enthusiasm for a genuine alternative to the failure of austerity. Across the Channel, voters have already given their verdict on politicians who have failed on growth, jobs, and making the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Our own political establishment has just been served notice, too.”



Note to news editors:

For further information, please contact:
Rachel Yates, Class Coordinator on 020 7611 2569 or 07939 753 061

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,727 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st - 22nd May 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Full polling results are available here:

The IFS Green Budget Report in February 2012 showed that 90 per cent of Government spending cuts were yet to take effect:

Class launch seminar: Towards 2015 - Strategies for Jobs and Growth will be held in London tomorrow (Saturday). A range of high-profile academics and experts will be presenting their policy positions on how to achieve growth including, Prof Mariana Mazzucato, University of Sussex; Ann Pettifor, PRIME: Research in Macroeconomics; Prof Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS; Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK; Angela Mason, Fawcett Society; Prof Malcolm Sawyer, Leeds University Business School; Dr Stephanie Blankenburg, SOAS. Other speakers include Len McCluskey, Unite the Union; Jon Trickett MP; Owen Jones, Independent and Class; amongst others. More information on the launch seminar can be found here:

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new think tank established by Unite the Union, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to act as a centre for left debate and discussion. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today.

More information:

Work areas: Economy and Industry.