“[The Conservatives] are always for the rich, the poor don’t get anything, especially in Bolton,” said Danielle Unsworth, 29, a retail worker, from one of the tightest Red Wall seats in the country.
Speaking after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled his first mini-Budget on Friday, Ms Unsworth told i that she works full-time but felt she “would probably be better off on Universal Credit”.
In Bolton North East, a seat which is held by Conservative MP Mark Logan by just 378 votes, having previously been a Labor seat for more than 20 years, voters had few positive words to say about Mr Kwarteng’s “new era” for the UK.
More than 40 per cent of children are living in poverty in the constituency, an increase of 3.4 per cent in the past five years.
Ms Unsworth continued: “I’m on not much more than minimum wage and it’s not going far. I live with my mum and I can’t move out because she can’t afford it without me.”
She said she thinks many people who might have voted Conservative for the first time in 2019 in the constituency now regret it.
“Boris Johnson has destroyed the economy,” she said. “I know some people who voted Tory and they can see now it’s worse than ever. I just hope with Liz Truss in charge it’s a bit more organized and we can live in peace.”
A Lib Dem voter in her 60s, who asked not to be named, said she was left furious by the mini-Budget, in particular the decision to remove the cap on bankers’ bonuses.
“It’s a disgrace,” she said. “I think all bonuses for people like that who are high earners anyway should be scrapped.
“If they’re getting a big salary anyway why do they need a bonus? None of this will help me as a pensioner.”
“In this area, a lot of people work very hard for low wages, they’re already struggling with mortgage payments, food bills, energy costs, it won’t help them.
“As for encouraging growth… that’s going to take years and where’s the benefit? People need help right now.”
Others in Bolton were a little more hopeful about the new government’s strategy will pay off.
“I do believe in the need for tax cuts,” said one Tory voter, who declined to be named.
“We need more money in people’s pockets, and hopefully they can deal with energy crisis.”
Hasan Topalovic has run Crumbs Cafe, a greasy spoon spot for breakfast and lunch in Bolton for 20 years. Like all businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, his costs have gone up considerably in the past year, but he says he can’t pass them on to his customers because they can’t afford it. “No one in here earns £150,000,” he said.
“These are working people but it’s hard times for them as well,” he said. “Tax cuts… it depends how much you cut them, we will have to wait and see if it will help.”