How popular are Labour policies in 2023?

Fintan SmithPolitical Research Executive
June 16, 2023, 8:45 AM GMT+0

Britons support Labour policies on taxing the rich, employment rights, doctors, and climate change, but oppose those on strikes

As we edge closer and closer to the next general election, Labour continues to maintain a consistent lead of 15 points or more in YouGov’s Westminster voting intention polls. While many people desire a change of government, how sold are Britons on Labour’s plans? A recent YouGov poll offers us some clues, by taking a look at some policy proposals that have either been announced or hinted at by Starmer and the shadow cabinet.

The most popular policy of Labour’s that we tested is their commitment to double the number of training places for doctors to 15,000. This is supported by 86% of Britons, including around nine in ten Labour (94%) and Conservative (88%) voters, and opposed by just 4%.

Britons would support Labour’s proposed expansion of workers’ rights, but want to keep the practice of probation periods

Labour has announced that in government they would expand the provision of workers’ rights in the UK. These policies are overall popular with Britons. The most popular is a ban on the practice of fire and rehire, where businesses fire employees and then offer them the same job on a contract with less favourable conditions – such a move would be supported by two thirds of Britons (68%).

A similar number would also support the banning of zero-hour contracts (67%), where employees are not entitled to any paid leave, nor guaranteed any paid hours. Extending the minimum amount of paid maternity and paternity leave granted to new parents (currently nine months and two weeks respectively) is also popular, with 56% in favour.

Less popular, however, are plans to end the practice of probation periods, where new employees have less rights in terms of job security than employees who have been there longer, which Britons tend to oppose by 47% to 40%.

Plans to make it easier for workers to take industrial action are unpopular

Keir Starmer has said he would repeal elements of the Trade Unions Act 2016, which makes it a requirement that any union ballot to strike has at least 50% turnout, and receives 40% backing for the strike.

A move to repeal either of these stipulations would be opposed by 42% and 41% respectively, with 27-28% in favour. Labour voters are most likely to support making strike action easier in general (63%), but are more divided on removing the threshold changes specifically, with around four in ten supporting the removal of each of these requirements (38% for both), compared to a third opposed (33% and 34%).

Labour’s tax reform plans for the rich are popular

The party has suggested they may back some form of wealth taxation in the UK. A previous YouGov poll in January found that wealth taxes are generally popular with Britons. However, support for the wealth tax proposal we asked people about here – a 1% tax on wealth over £500,000 collected annually – has fallen since then from 53% to 49%. This does, however, still represent a preference for such a move, with only one in four (26%) opposed. Support for Labour’s commitment to end ‘non-dom’ tax status has also fallen slightly since we last asked about it in January, from 57% to 52%.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty

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