Among the general public the pressure for a higher offer is even higher, with an overwhelming 78 per cent branding it too low and just one per cent saying it was too much.
The findings will fuel pressure on the PM for a U-turn. Sources say the Government is already looking at options including a plan to single out nurses and other staff who served on the frontline of the Covid pandemic for a bigger rise or a one-off bonus.
Strikingly, 52 per cent of people felt the Budget was “good for the country”, even though only 39 per cent felt it was good for them personally. That suggests Britons were ready to accept some bad news for the sake of a national recovery from the Covid crisis.
Mr Sunak’s big hike in Corporation Tax – due to jump from 19 per cent to 25 per cent in 2023 – was backed an overwhelming majority of 69 per cent and opposed by just 15 per cent. Among Tories, 75 per cent backed the increase.
Britons were also supportive of the plan to freeze tax thresholds, a move sometimes described as a stealth tax. The freeze on the threshold for the 40p tax band, which will hit better off people with incomes of over £50,270, was backed by a majority of 53 per cent and opposed by 23.
But the freeze on the starting threshold of the basic rate, affecting people on over £12,750, was backed by 47 per cent and opposed by 33 per cent. This was unpopular among younger people aged 18 to 34, who are more likely to be on lower wages, where only 35 per cent were in favour and 39 per cent were opposed.
A majority of 54 per cent thought the Government had spent “about the right amount” on supporting ordinary people in the pandemic, though 29 per cent thought it was too little.
People appear to be worried that spending will go down too quickly, with 45 per cent predicting that “too little” will be spent in future, and 40 per cent believing it will be about right.
Among young people, a clear 62 per cent think support for ordinary people will fall to “too little” in future.
People do not want a return to austerity. Only 26 per cent felt there was a very real need to cut public spending to reduce Britain’s debt, while 61 per cent disagreed, in contrast with the public acceptance of spending cuts a decade ago. Even among Conservative supporters, austerity is now rejected by 48 to 37.
Intriguingly, rising star Mr Sunak is neck and neck with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer when people are asked which of the pair would make the “most capable Prime Minister”. Some 39 per cent picked the Chancellor and 37 per cent picked the Labour leader, a gap too small to be seen as significant.
The finding will be studied keenly by MPs on all sides, because of speculation that Mr Sunak will be the next leader of the Conservatives and therefore a direct rival of Mr Starmer.
Gideon Skinner, head of political research for Ipsos MORI said the findings “suggest that the public believes that Rishi Sunak is getting the balance right, although there is some concern that the recovery won’t see enough support for ordinary people – especially among those in their twenties and early thirties.”
He added: “It looks like the politics of public spending post-Covid will be quite different to the reaction to the financial crash a decade ago. Although then there was agreement that cuts were needed, now Britons don’t want to see further austerity.”
* Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,009 adults across GB by phone, March 5 to 12. Data are weighted. Details at www.ipsos-mori.com