New poll finds 60% of public backs Lib Dem flagship policy of tax-cuts for low-paid funded by tax increases for wealthy

by Stephen Tall on February 28, 2012

It’s a month since Nick Clegg made a fresh bid to put the Lib Dems’ flagship 2010 manifesto policy once again front-and-centre: further tax-cuts for the lowest-paid to be funded by higher taxes for the wealthiest.

And today came news of what the public thinks of the Lib Dem approach to fairer taxes, with the Independent reporting the following ComRes poll results:

A majority of people want George Osborne to raise taxes for the rich in next month’s Budget in order to take more low paid workers out of tax, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent. Some 60 per cent of the public support the Liberal Democrats’ flagship policy and key Budget demand while 34 per cent disagree.

Here’s what ComRes asked: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People on high incomes* should pay more in tax in order to take people on the lowest incomes out of tax altogether. There was majority support for the policy in every single demographic (bar one**), but it’s interesting to see the breakdown of who is most favourable to the policy:

At or above average (60%) support:

  • Men (64%)
  • Those aged 45 or over – 45-54 (63%), 55-64 (71%), 65+ (73%)
  • C2s (62%) and DEs (68%)
  • Those living in eastern England (65%), Yorkshire & Humberside (60%), north-west England (60%), south-west England (68%), Wales (61%) and Scotland (63%)
  • Lib Dem (64%), Labour (69%), Green (87%) voters
  • Lib Dem 2010 GE voters (70%) and Lab 2010 GE voters (69%)

Below average (60%) support:

  • Females (55%)
  • Those aged under 45 or under – 18-24 (45%), 25-34 (47%), 35-44 (52%)
  • ABs (54%) and C1s (56%)
  • Those living in north-east England (48%), east Midlands (51%), south-east England (57%), London (58%), west Midlands (58%)
  • Conservative (51%), UKIP (56%), SNP (50%), PLaid Cymru (55%), BNP (40%) voters
  • Conservative 2010 GE voters (53%)

* A pedantic (but important) note… the Lib Dems’ preferred approach is not simply to tax ‘people on high incomes’ to fund tax-cuts for the low-paid. The Lib Dem manifesto committed the party to raising the income tax threshold to £10,000 to be funded by a mix of tax-raising measures (including, for example, the ‘mansion tax’ and taxes on polluters), to ensure a fairer distribution of the tax burden between the wealthiest in society (who are not always the same as the highest earners) and the poorest.

** The only group of voters who, according to ComRes, are opposed to funding tax-cuts for the low-paid by increasing taxes on the richest are… BNP voters. (And note that the sample size of BNP voters in this survey is so small there will be a large margin of error.)

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.