British people happy to pay higher taxes for better public services

28 Jun 17

Britons want more money spent on public services and are happy to pay for it, according to a report on social attitudes. 

A study by The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) out today found that 48% of people interviewed wanted higher taxes to pay for more spending on health, education and social benefits. This is the highest level for more than a decade.

The figures showed 44% wanted tax levels to stay the same and 4% would like to see taxes cut. Despite the recent swing today’s results have still not reached the heights of the 1990s when six in ten favoured more spending.

The report stated: “The story told by NatCen's report is of a country expecting more from the state.

“There are clear signs of increased support for a government that is more generous with its spending and a growing public willingness to pay for it.”

Researchers got the results after asking 2,942 people in Britain their attitudes towards a raft of issues, which the NatCen says shows a “shift to the left” on the economy since the financial crisis and the austerity that followed.

Roger Harding, head of Public Attitudes at NatCen, 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.”     

Today’s survey comes as senior Tory MP, Oliver Letwin, suggested that the Conservative government should increase public spending.

Letwin, a former minister of state for government policy under David Cameron, said: “People were much more concerned at this election than they had been at the previous two about spending on schools, spending on health, spending on social care – crucial public services which now seem to be under strain.”

He made the comments while speaking on BBC 4's Today programme.

Letwin urged the government to continue its efforts to balance the budget and restore fiscal credibility.

He said the government could 'ease up a little' but warned against a "great splurge". 

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