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Support grows for higher taxes to fund public services

Support grows for higher taxes to fund public services

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

Support for tax rises to fund more public spending is at its highest level since 2004, a major survey has found. 


Some 48% of Britons believe the Government should increase taxes to pay for health, education and social benefits, the British Social Attitudes survey found.

In contrast, 44% of people want taxes to remain the same and only 4% of people want taxes to be cut.

It is the largest proportion in support of a bigger state since 2004, and the first time since the financial crash that those in favour of higher taxes have outnumbered those in support of the current settlement.

The figure showed Britons “tolerance with austerity is drying up”, said the National Centre for Social Research, which carried out the poll.

The survey also found that, for the first time in 30 years, more money for retired people was not the public’s priority for extra welfare spending, with higher disability benefits preferred.

Some 21% believe most welfare claimants should not be given help, down from 28% who thought this in 2015.

Roger Harding, head of public attitudes at the Centre, said: “People's tolerance for austerity is drying up, even if that means higher taxes.

“This leftwards tilt on tax and spend is matched by a long-running conservatism on national security and law and order. In all, people want a more active state that's firm but fairer.”

Elsewhere, the poll showed the country is becoming more sceptical of the EU and increasingly socially liberal on issues like same-sex relationships, pre-marital sex and abortion.

Some 75% believe sex before marriage is not “wrong at all”, up from 42% 34 years ago.

Meanwhile, 64% of people now think same-sex relationships are “not wrong at all” as opposed to 57% in 2013.

Read the most recent article written by Agnes Chambre - Confusion among Labour's top team as senior figures disagree over second EU referendum

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