People would pay higher taxes for increased public spending, says poll

9 Oct 18

Nearly two-thirds of people in the UK would like to see public spending increased even if that means higher taxes, a survey has revealed.

Polling conducted by Ipsos Mori, on behalf of Deloitte and the think-tank Reform, found that 62% of people would be open to higher taxes to support increased public spending - up from 49% in 2009.

Only 19% of respondents agreed that there is still a need to cut spending on public services to pay off national debt, according to the survey of 1,500 adults across the UK.

Support for imposing charges for some public services was mixed with 54% of respondents agreeing that charging for non-urgent call outs for emergency services was acceptable.

Over two-thirds (68%) believed that charging for missed GP appointments was acceptable and 59% said charging non-UK citizens for GP visits was a good idea, according to the survey.

Rebecca George, lead public sector partner at Deloitte, said: “With a budget coming up and the prime minister’s announcement that austerity is over, this survey demonstrates a marked shift in public attitudes to government spending.

“In a reversal of sentiment seen a decade ago, a majority of the public would now prefer tax rises to fund more extensive public services.

“The public also seems open to some charges for public services.”

Deloitte’s report,  The state of the state, released today, found that 41% agreed that the state has tried to do too much and people should take more responsibility for their own lives, down from 49% in 2017 and 64% in 2010.

The annual report on the pressure on public finances found that 70% of respondents were worried that government will do too little to help people in the years ahead - up from 50% in 2010. 

Theresa May announced at the Conservative Party conference last week that austerity was over.

Read analysis from Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation think-tank, on May's speech and whether austerity is really over .

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