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Political Leadership

ECIU polling: more voters had heard about Labour’s green investment ‘U-turn’ than the policy itself

21 February 2024

In the wake of Labour’s announcement that their green investment pledge would be scaled back, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) commissioned snap polling from Opinium.

Only 14% of people reported being ‘very aware’ of Labour’s (previously) proposed £28 billion a year investment plans. This is worth noting, as a significant amount of debate within green policy circles has focused on this specific number (but most of the public wasn’t aware of it in the first place).

Roughly double the number of people (26%) said they were ‘very aware’ of the decision to reduce the £28 billion pledge, though, suggesting that for a significant number of people, the intense media debate around whether or not Labour would ‘U-turn’ would have been the first time they had encountered the policy.

Read our analysis taking stock of what the policy shift from Labour is likely to have meant to voters here.

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The latest from the Political Leadership timeline:

Policy Insight 8th April 2024

Green Alliance policy tracker: March 2024 update

The Green Alliance Net Zero policy tracker has monitored government policies since 2020. The March 2024 update compares progress against the emissions pathways set out in the Net Zero Strategy, last updated in 2023. The report concludes that across the whole economy, and for many individual sectors, there is a continued lack of progress on decarbonisation, and adds that ‘strong leadership is missing across the political spectrum’.

Beyond the material threat to decarbonisation this lack of leadership poses, Climate Barometer tracker data is clear that voters want and expect leadership on climate change.

Its absence therefore also undermines policies which require buy-in and acquiescence from the public, including the transition from gas boilers to electrified heat pumps.

Opinion Insight 8th February 2024

YouGov polling: Labour voters see government U-turns as a bad sign

YouGov tracker polling from February 2024 shows the British public have a mixed response to governments announcing policy U-turns, with roughly even numbers overall saying it’s ‘a good sign – showing they are willing to listen and change their minds when people complain or situations change’ (36%), and saying it’s ‘a bad sign – showing they are incompetent, weak, or have not thought their policies through properly in advance’ (34%).

There are differences between voters though: Conservatives are more likely to look favourably upon government U-turns, with 51% seeing U-turns as a good thing. Those intending to vote Labour tend to lean the other way, with 41% opposing them.

In the context of the Labour Party’s announcement it will drop its prior commitment to spending £28 billion a year on green investment, Labour voters are unlikely to support it if they view it as a U-turn.

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