Daily Mail

Majority now happy to pay more tax, finds survey

- By Martin Beckford Policy Editor

MOST Britons believe the Government should raise taxes and spend more on health, education and welfare, says a major report out today.

The long-running British Social Attitudes survey found 52 per cent of those polled backed higher taxes and public spending, up from 50 per cent in 2020.

Close to half (49 per cent) think the Government should take from the richest to give to the poorest, up sharply on recent years, while 51 per cent were willing to pay higher taxes to fund improved health care. Even 46 per cent of Tory voters were in favour of a bigger state, with just 7 per cent against, according to the survey conducted last autumn by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). In previous decades the public reacted to higher public spending by calling for lower taxes.

The findings come as new Prime Minister Liz Truss presses ahead with sweeping tax cuts to boost economic growth.

Gillian Prior of NatCen, said: ‘Our annual survey suggests the public faces the cost of living crisis with as much appetite for increased government spending as it had during the pandemic.’

People were ‘more willing than a decade ago for government to redistribu­te income from the better off to the less well off’.

Many of the 6,250 adults interviewe­d for the 39th annual social attitudes survey were dissatisfi­ed with the NHS. One in four said they did not get treatment they needed in the previous year because of long waiting lists and two thirds said it took too long to get an appointmen­t. Three quarters believed NHS services should be free.

There was also a growing demand for electoral reform. For the first time since the question was initially asked in 1983, more people wanted to introduce proportion­al representa­tion (51 per cent) than keep the first-past-the-post system (44 per cent).

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