George Osborne
Budget 2014 Poll: 61% Cynical Over Debt Motives Pre-2015 Election Reuters

Britons are sceptical over whether the government will push through pledges to tackle the country's debt after a new poll revealed that 61% say "electioneering" was a factor in decisions.

According to a YouGov / Balance the Books poll of over 2,000 adults, 80% believe the UK government should balance spending and income over 25 years, or over a shorter timescale, but nearly two thirds of people remain cynical and say proposals are just a ruse to get people to vote for the party in power.

"This idea belongs to everyone. Yet we're still voting for governments on the back of pre-election gimmicks and post-election pain," said Adam Kirby, director of campaign group Balance the Books.

"The political classes are too terrified by the overdraft they've built up on our behalf to be honest. In the normal world, everyone cares about the taxes and public services which mould our lives. But no one believes in politics – they've given up hoping that politicians can make a difference."

"That's because we've all come to expect a system where those promises don't add up. We want to change that permanently, and Balance the Books will be as much a practical political campaign as a dry economic organisation," he added.

Both the coalition government and the opposition have pledged to get the deficit down.

According to the poll, a majority of British adults (65%) are in favour of balancing the books over five years or less, and all age groups, regions and those of all voting intentions are united in desire for a balanced Budget.

Around 13% said a decade was the best period for balancing the books and 2% say a quarter of a century is the best target.

"There is a strong argument for a degree of short-term flexibility in the public finances. Emergencies arise, crises erupt and worst of all, wars can happen," said Kirkby.

"But that is exactly why we can't afford to squander our capacity to borrow in the good times.

"Unfortunately, as we've learnt the hard way from half a decade of austerity, that's precisely what's been going on for some time. Running a deficit over the long term is simply delusional economics.

"True Keynesianism is not about leaving a toxic legacy to mature on someone else's watch. In fact, putting off responsible decisions until governments are forced into painful emergency measures can actually make recessions worse."