(Bloomberg) -- Most British voters say they do not expect tax cuts proposed by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt to improve their finances or the country’s economy, according to a new poll, a troubling sign for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government ahead of a possible election next year.

Just over half — 52% — of the adults surveyed by Deltapoll in the days following Hunt’s Autumn Statement said the measures, including cuts to personal taxation, will make “no real difference” to their household’s financial situation. The poll found 19% saying it will make their household finances worse, 16% saying it will improve them.

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Sunak is desperately trying to claw back support from voters who have switched to the opposition Labour Party in the past year. His Conservative Party is trailing Labour by around 20 points and he must call an election by January 2025. 

Despite the weight Sunak’s administration is placing on tax cuts ahead of a public vote, lowering taxes is less of a priority for British voters than investing in public services, according to the poll. Reducing inflation was the top priority for 30% of those surveyed, with growing the economy cited by 20%, public service investments by 12% and 11% calling for lowering taxes.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, warned last week that the government’s tax cuts are being paid for by spending cuts to public services and government investment. Areas not protected from reductions, such as prisons, face cuts of 3.4% a year to 2028, effectively a £20 billion drop in spending, according to Johnson.

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Still, most of the key policies Hunt announced carry strong support among the public. The poll finds 71% in favor of the two-percentage-point reduction to national insurance contributions, with 12% opposing.

Even so, those proposals failed to shift the broadly negative view of the government’s handling of the economy. 

The Deltapoll survey found 60% say the economy has been handled “fairly” or “very” badly, with only 19% saying it was being handled fairly or very well, for a net negative 41% rating.  

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