July 14, 2022

Pollwatch: Three in five business leaders no longer have confidence in the government

Author:
Matthew Mann, Associate Director
Two in five (41%) UK business leaders agree that Labour would do a better job at managing the UK economy; 26% disagree

As part of Savanta’s regular Business Tracker, the survey of 282 small, medium and large business leaders shows a damning indictment on the current state of UK politics.


  • Three in five (62%) UK business leaders agree that their business no longer has confidence in the government; 12% disagree
  • Two in five (41%) UK business leaders agree that Labour would do a better job at managing the UK economy; 26% disagree
  • Two in five (37%) UK business leaders agree a change in government will result in Brexit being jeopardised; 28% disagree
  • UK business leaders are more likely to say that Rishi Sunak (16%) is the best candidate for Prime Minister than Keir Starmer (13%)

The poll finds that seven in ten (69%) UK business leaders say that Boris Johnson was right to resign as Prime Minister, and six in ten (60%) agree that he should leave office right now rather than waiting for a new Conservative leader to be elected and become Prime Minister.

However, despite the condemnation of Boris Johnson and the current government, almost half (46%) say that a change in government leadership now will exacerbate rising business costs and the rising cost of living, 44% say it will have a negative impact on the UK economy, while 37% agree that a change in leadership at the top of government risks Brexit being jeopardised.

Six in ten (62%) agree that a general election should be called following Johnson’s resignation.

Despite the perceived risk of a change in Conservative leader, Prime Minister and government, two in five (41%) UK business leaders agree that Labour would do a better job at managing the UK economy, compared to a quarter (26%) who disagree.

And 13% say Keir Starmer would be the best candidate for Prime Minister, well ahead of every Conservative leadership hopeful except Rishi Sunak (16%). Fieldwork began before a final list of declared candidates was announced, so included twelve possible Conservative leadership candidates, plus Keir Starmer. Besides Sunak and Starmer, Liz Truss and Sajid Javid top-scored (6% each). One in six (18%) say there is no suitable candidate for the job, and 14% didn’t know.

Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes says,

“This survey shows a distinct dissatisfaction with Boris Johnson’s government among the business community, a group that the next Conservative leader will be keen to get on side. However, this survey shows a negative outlook for a new government among business leaders, with many agreeing that a change in administration will exacerbate rising business costs, have a negative impact on the UK economy and could jeopardise Brexit, which businesses have spent precious resources in adjusting to. The next Prime Minister will need to make clear their pitch to business leaders, with many at the moment favouring a Labour government, something which would have been difficult to imagine even twelve months ago.”


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