Support for the UK’s ruling Conservative Party has fallen to its lowest level since the 2019 general elections, after the government decided to raise taxes for the National Health Service (NHS) and social care reform, a new poll has revealed.
The poll, conducted by YouGov for the Times newspaper and released on Friday, said that support for the Conservatives is down five points to 33 per cent after the government announced plans earlier this week to increase national insurance, reports Xinhua news agency.
The poll put the opposition Labour Party in the lead at 35 per cent, for the first time since January at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It showed only 1 per cent of voters believe that the new levy and social care reforms will leave them better off.
Six in 10 voters did not think Prime Minister Boris Johnson or his party cared about keeping taxes low, while about two in 10 voters said he did care.
The YouGov poll suggested the policy has undermined the Conservatives’ reputation as a party of low taxation without giving them the credit for increased investment in the NHS and social care.
“We should be cautious of leaping to too many conclusions from a single poll but it looks as if the government may have sacrificed their reputation for low taxes amongst Tory voters without actually getting much credit for helping the NHS,” said Anthony Wells, political research director at YouGov.
The Conservative Party has enjoyed the backing of over 40 percent of the electorate since the start of the mass Covid-19 vaccine rollout, leading over Labour of 18 points as recently as May.
Even last week, the Conservatives were leading over Labour was four points on 38 perc ent, according to the Times newspaper.
The newspaper said the new poll results would alarm Conservative lawmakers before the party conference next month and increase anger among those on the Conservative right who spoke out against the plan.
The findings will also be met with concerns in Downing Street, which carried out extensive polling in the run-up to the decision.
On Tuesday, Johnson announced a 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance, which is the biggest personal tax rise in two decades, to pay for a 12 billion pound ($16 billion) annual package for the NHS and social care reform.
The need to treat Covid patients has contributed to worsening wait times for non-Covid care in Britain.
Official statistics showed that the number of NHS patients waiting for tests, surgery and routine treatment in England is at a record high of 5.5 million and could potentially reach 13 million over the next few years.