Tax cuts popular with Labour voters – shock, horror

by Stephen Tall on September 25, 2006

At last week’s Lib Dem conference – during the debate about whether or not the party should ditch its commitment to increasing the top rate of tax for the very wealthiest to 50% – the argument was made that the exisiting policy was simple to explain, and would prove crucial in helping to sway centre-left voters in key Labour marginals, where many of the Lib Dems’ best electoral hopes lie.

I was intrigued, therefore, by this finding from the BBC’s Daily Politics ‘perception panel’, which measured the public’s response to Ming’s conference speech (and with which I have only just caught up):

Unsurprisingly, taxation was a key theme, and we were interested in your responses to the following passage.

We Liberal Democrats are different. Here is exactly what we’ll do.

We will cut national income tax for 28 million working people.

We’ll abolish the 10 pence starting rate.

We’ll cut the basic rate from 22 pence to 20.

We’ll raise the top rate threshold from £38,000 to £50,000.

We’ll take over two million of our lowest earners out of income tax altogether. More than two million people.

Think about it. Money back in the pockets of the poorest working families.

Sir Menzies’ proposed reforms of the tax system got broad support from the Lib Dem voters among you – but got even greater approval from the Labour voters.