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EXCL MPs back tax rises over spending cuts in wake of coronavirus crisis - poll

MPs were asked to give their view on a post-Covid society.

3 min read

Almost three-quarters of MPs believe that taxes will need to rise to fund public services in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, according to a new poll.

Seventy-two percent of the MPs polled by The House/PoliticsHome agreed that “taxes will increase to fund public services".

But there appears to be less support among MPs for a fresh round of public spending cuts. 

The latest figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility show that Britain is on course for a deficit of nearly £300bn amid the mounting cost of responding to the virus.

The Treasury is reportedly mulling options including a hike in income tax, a fresh public sector pay freeze and an end to the ‘triple-lock’ guarantee to increase state pensions in a bid to reassure markets that it has a grip on the public finances.

But while 73% agree that “tough spending choices will have to be made", just four in ten MPs say they would back cuts to public services to curb spending.

With the Bank of England predicting that the UK is on course to double its unemployment rate to 9% this year, nine in ten (90%) of the MPs surveyed believe that unemployment will be higher as a result of the pandemic.

Meanwhile 83% believe that “the state will play a greater role in the economy” after the pandemic passes.

And the poll finds strong support for a wage boost for key workers on the coronavirus frontline.

Almost two-thirds of MPs believe pay for NHS and care workers should be higher, while 56% say the pay packets of key workers such as bus drivers should also increase in light of the pandemic.

The House/PoliticsHome questioned 75 MPs across all major parties, with the results weighted to reflect the party political make-up of the House of Commons. 

MPs were also asked to rate the Government’s response to the pandemic, with 54% agreeing that the Government was not well prepared to deal with the crisis. 

Ninety-four percent of those polled agreed that a public inquiry into the Covid-19 crisis will be needed - but just one in ten believe this should be launched in “the coming weeks”.

MPs are split on the performance of Boris Johnson, with 48% of those surveyed saying the the prime minister had performed well - while 49% believe he has performed poorly.

Almost half (49%) of those surveyed believe Health Secretary Matt Hancock has performed well, with just over a third (34%) of the MPs rating his performance as poor.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak - who has outlined a string of unprecedented economic interventions in recent weeks picks up a more favourable rating from MPs, with 60% saying he has performed well during the crisis. Just a quarter (25%) say he has performed poorly.

Read the full findings

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