Public thinks government 'is doing a bad job' on Rishi Sunak's five priorities

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Credit: PA

The British public tends to think Rishi Sunak is doing a bad job in delivering on his five priorities, and believes Sir Keir Starmer would do better, a new poll has found.

The Prime Minister set out five priorities at the start of the year, including halving inflation, growing the economy, cutting NHS waiting lists, reducing the national debt and stopping small boat crossings.

But almost halfway through the year, a poll by Ipsos UK found more than 50% of people think the Government is doing a bad job on almost all those priorities.

In worse news for the Government, the poll found that the public tended to think Mr Sunak was doing a worse job on the areas that were most important to them.

The public’s top priority, according to the poll, was easing the cost of living, with 59% listing it as important, followed by ensuring people can get NHS treatment more quickly on 54% and reducing NHS waiting lists on 51%.

But 60% said the Government was doing a bad job on easing the cost of living, with only 18% saying it was doing a good job, and 62% thought it was not delivering on reducing NHS waiting times.

On growing the economy, which 39% listed as one of their priorities, 50% said the Government was doing a bad job.

Stopping small boats and ensuring illegal immigrants were swiftly deported was a lower priority for the general public, with 29% mentioning it, but it was a much higher priority for people who voted Conservative in 2019 than those who voted Labour.

Almost half of Tory voters listed ensuring swift removal of illegal immigrants as an important priority, the same number as those who mentioned reducing NHS waiting lists and more than those who listed growing the economy, while only 14% of Labour voters said the same thing.

Only 15% of people said they thought reducing the national debt was important.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak departs 10 Downing Street Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA

On each of Mr Sunak’s priorities, the public was more likely to think a Labour government would do a better job than the Tories.

Between a quarter and a third of people thought Sir Keir Starmer’s party would do a good job on halving inflation, growing the economy, cutting NHS waiting lists and reducing the national debt, while 21% said Labour would do a good job on stopping small boat crossings.

But less than 20% of people thought the same about the Government in all of those areas except growing the economy.

Some 22% thought the Government was doing a good job on that priority, although this was still lower than Labour’s score of 29%.

The poll, carried out between May 26 and 30, surveyed 2,200 British adults about the Government’s priorities and their thoughts on the outcome of the next general election.

The public was more likely to prefer options that involved a Labour government than a Conservative one, with 39% saying a Labour majority would be a good outcome and 31% saying the same about a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer Credit: Euan Cherry/PA

Only 27% said a Conservative majority would be a good outcome, with 17% backing a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

The only Labour option to score less well than a Conservative majority was a deal that would see a Labour minority reliant on support from the SNP, which 22% said would be a good outcome.

Ipsos director of politics Keiran Pedley said: “There is not a lot of good news in these numbers for the Prime Minister.

"Of his five pledges, the public tend to think his Government are doing worst in the areas that are most important to them.

“Meanwhile, when asked about the next General Election, the public tend to prefer outcomes resulting in a Labour government.

"Rishi Sunak will hope his government can make significant progress in his key policy pledges as the year progresses, in order to give the Conservatives a chance to turn their political fortunes around.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...