Over half of people support tax rises to increase public spending

Over half (56%) of people believe that public spending should be increased, even if it means tax rises for households like their own, abrdn Financial Fairness Trust has found.

In research ahead of the General Election later this week, the firm commissioned its financial fairness tracker to question around 5,600 households about their financial situation as well as policies that the next Government should prioritise.

Policies that were deemed to be good for the country but not for the respondent’s household included more hours of free childcare (33%), raising the rate of tax for higher earners (29%), an increase in child benefit (27%) and cheaper energy tariffs for lower income households or those on benefits (26%).

Furthermore, others said they would support an increase disability-related benefits and higher taxes for private schools (25%).

The research, which was analysed by a team at the University of Bristol and has been conducted since the start of the COVID pandemic, has found that the number of households that are financially secure has dropped by nearly two million in the past four years.

It also revealed that younger voters were more likely to support policies including free childcare and an increase in child benefits, while older voters were more likely to back reductions in council tax, motor-related taxes, income tax, national insurance and inheritance tax.

Chief executive officer at abrdn Financial Fairness Trust, Mubin Haq, said: "During the election campaign, both Labour and the Conservatives have ruled out increases to our major sources of tax. As a result, this is likely to mean significant cuts to a number of public services which are already visibly struggling. The public are clear as to which they would prefer - tax increases before public spending cuts, even if this means higher tax rises for their household.

"What is remarkable is that this support for tax rises comes at a time when significant financial difficulties have increased by 40%, with nearly three million extra households facing serious financial problems or struggling financially since the last general election."

Chair in personal finance at the University of Bristol, Professor Sharon Collard, added: "The findings clearly show that people in the UK have much more nuanced views on these key election issues than the media headlines would sometimes have us believe. They understand there are trade-offs between what is good for their own household finances and what is good for the country overall."

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