The polls are tight amid talk of an early election, but the Budget will move the dial one way or the other

If the public haven’t yet seen enough to back Keir Starmer’s Labour over this Government, is it ever going to happen?

Party conference season is over and Parliament is back in session, with MPs returning to the House on 18 October in a day filled with tributes to Sir David Amess MP.

Prior to the murder of Sir David on Friday 15 October, Westminster had been preparing to kick back into gear, with plenty of key issues on the agenda.

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With a cost of living crisis still biting for many in the UK, talk of supply-chain issues potentially impacting Christmas and the COP26 climate conference just weeks away, there are a wide range of issues which voters will want MPs to get on top of.

Tories broken pledges may not be an issue

While neither Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer announced many solid policies at their party conferences, the Government has recently made a number of manifesto-breaking pledges, including to increase National Insurance.

However, billed as it was as a necessary step to shore up the UK’s health service and go some way to repairing the social care system, and in the context of the pandemic, this substantial tax rise on working people may not prove to be all that unpopular.

The Conservatives will be more concerned about losing core support over planning reforms which could see housing built on green-belt land, and the suspension of the triple-lock on pensions for the next financial year.

With the Chancellor set to unveil the autumn budget on October 27, the extent to which he balances carrot and stick measures will no doubt be reflected in the polls.

As speculation continues to mount over a potential early general election in 2023, the Chancellor might want to make a number of unpopular decisions now and save the positive stuff for nearer to the time.

Whatever he announces, Sunak will likely present himself and his party as taking the hard but necessary decisions to turn the corner post-pandemic, which will seem reasonable to most.

The question for Labour

But for many the money in people’s pockets isn’t going as far as they’d like, and even for those who’ve got enough of it there are tangible supply issues to contend with.

With Christmas and winter around the corner, and little sign that these crises will abate beforehand, you’d expect people’s concerns to translate into diminished support for the Government at some point.

But the question on the minds of many within Labour is twofold.

Given the events of the last 18 months, if public support for the Conservatives hasn’t dropped by now, will it ever?

And, if the public haven’t yet seen enough of the current Labour leader to start backing him, will they ever?