Daily Mail

Now half of voters say Labour’s the party of low taxes, not Tories

- By David Churchill Chief Political Correspond­ent

MORE voters now associate Labour with lower taxes than the Tories, according to a bombshell poll.

Just days before the Autumn Statement, the survey for The Daily Mail reveals the scale of the clamour for tax cuts among the public.

Last night Tory MPs backed the calls and demanded Chancellor Jeremy Hunt uses next week’s Statement to ease the cost of living by slashing duties and restoring the Conservati­ves’ reputation as the party of low taxation.

The poll, by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, found more than half (51 per cent) of voters believe now is the time for tax cuts, rather than waiting until Spring Budget next year.

Just 28 per cent think taxes should remain the same, with only one in ten believing they should be hiked. A majority (45 per cent) say lowering taxes would make the cost-of-living crisis better.

Fewer than one in five (17 per cent) agree with ministers – who fear tax cuts could fuel inflation – that it would make it worse. Most voters want reductions in income tax (41 per cent) as they believe this is the most ‘unfairly applied’ levy. This is likely to be a result of personal income tax allowances and thresholds being frozen in a ‘stealth tax’. This is followed by inheritanc­e tax (36 per cent) and National Insurance (28 per cent).

But most worryingly for the Government, nearly a third (32 per cent) of voters associate Labour with lower taxes. By contrast, less than one in four (23 per cent) still think of the Conservati­ves in this way.

Meanwhile, more than a third (35 per cent) now think of the Tories as a taxraising party, compared with less than one in three (30 per cent) who say the same of Labour.

The findings will pile pressure on Mr Hunt to slash taxes in next week’s Autumn Statement.

Households face an average tax rise of £3,500 a year by the next election. It comes after Treasury ministers were reportedly told by official forecaster­s they have more than £20 billion of ‘fiscal headroom’ to afford tax cuts because of rising tax revenues and falling borrowing costs. This compares with £6.5 billion at the time of this year’s spring Budget in March.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘For the last few years, voters have had hiking of taxes and raising of interest rates. It’s therefore no surprise that because it’s a Conservati­ve government doing this, they don’t associate us with lower taxes any more. Labour never really cuts taxes; it always leaves taxation higher – so this is a vital moment for the Conservati­ve Party and Chancellor to recognise we need to get taxes down.’ He called on the Chancellor to look

‘They have more than £20 billion’

at scrapping the freeze on personal income tax allowances and thresholds as the ‘number one’ priority, followed by tax cuts for small businesses.

Former cabinet minister Sir John Redwood added: ‘ Conservati­ves have got to show they not only want to tax people less, but they are cutting taxes to prove they live and breathe the brand. And now is the time to do it.’ The poll found four in ten

think the Government is now in a position to cut taxes compared to 35 per cent who don’t believe it is.

A third (33 per cent) said they ‘strongly support’ taxes being cut next week, with 29 per cent saying they ‘strongly’ support it.

The survey also suggests Labour is closing in on the Tories on economic competency. While 32 per cent said they agree the Conservati­ve Party stands for fiscal

responsibi­lity, 29 per cent said the same of Labour. Less than one in five (17 per cent) disagreed that Labour is fiscally responsibl­e, compared to more than one in five (21 per cent) for the Tories.

Philip van Scheltinga, Redfield & Wilton’s research director, said: ‘The Conservati­ve Party has lost its reputation for lower taxes.’

The Treasury was contacted for comment.

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Pressure: Jeremy Hunt
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