National politicians not trusted on spending, CIPFA poll finds

29 Apr 15

Only 16% of people in the UK trust Westminster politicians to make decisions on spending allocations, a poll for CIPFA has found.

The YouGov pre-election survey of 2,002 people found that local politicians were twice as likely (32%) to be trusted as national figures to allocate budgets within regions fairly.

The poll also found a majority of people (77%) believe regions and local areas should be in control of their own budget and spending, while a similar proportion (78%) agreed accountability for all local expenditure on public services to be placed at a local level, rather than in Whitehall.

CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman said the poll showed the need for political parties to set out more information about their plans to reduce the deficit during the election campaign.

‘It is worrying that trust in Westminster’s political class is quite so low,’ he said.

‘However given the paucity of financial information behind so many of the parties’ manifesto commitments and how lacking in detail their spending plans are, it is scarcely surprising that most people in the UK want decisions on spending made as close to the people they affect as possible.

‘This survey also demonstrates why CIPFA has been calling for greater devolution of financial powers from Westminster to local areas. The public want it and it now must fall to Westminster politicians to deliver this devolution if they are to restore the trust of people and communities up and down the country.’

The poll also found low levels of support for an increase in council tax, with over half of people (68%) opposing an increase above 2%, the level of the government’s current referendum cap.

However, the report found greater support for a tax increase if they were used to back local services.

Over half of people supported higher council tax if it was earmarked for care for the elderly (61%) or for road maintenance (52%). One third (33%) also supported a rise in council tax to protect local libraries.

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