A quick canter through some Taxpayers’ Alliance polling

I’ve spent the last two days being less than warm towards the Taxpayers’ Alliance, but even where I doubt the sincerity of their aims in the generality, the data they produce is nonetheless in that it tells you much about the voters you are trying to convince. And yes, whether or not you can come up with a persuasive argument to reflect their wishes, or if you even want to, you still need to understand their motivation. So, here are some of my personal highlights…

Reducing the basic rate of corporation tax from 19% to 12.5%, the same level as Ireland

Those polled favoured this by 47% to 29%, a net support figure of 18%. You might expect this to be weighted towards those who earn most, yet the data indicates that support levels are pretty consistent across earning groups. What is interesting though, is that the wealthier the person polled was, the more likely they were to oppose such a cut, which feels counterintuitive. For example, where household income was below £10,000, opposition to such a move was 25%, yet where household income was over £100,000, opposition ran at 39%.

Reform stamp duty so only those moving to homes worth more than £1m have to pay

In other words, take most house purchases outside the stamp duty regime altogether. But again, support is fairly consistent across household income brackets and opposition increases with household income. Across those polled, 66% supported the idea, and only 17% opposed it. Interestingly, the rate of opposition amongst 2015 and 2017 Liberal Democrat voters is higher than that amongst Labour voters (25% to 18% for 2015 voters, 24% to 19% for 2017 voters).

Cut the cost of motoring by reducing fuel duty and road tax

Popular, right? Well, yes, by a margin of 2:1. And yet, those who indicated that they were Liberal Democrat voters in both 2015 and 2017 are marginally opposed to this. And, once again, support levels are greater in poorer households, presumably because the costs of running a car represent a greater proportion of household budgets in poorer households.

Local authorities should introduce “tourism taxes” where tourists pay a small charge to stay in a town or city

You may be surprised to find that support for the idea is higher in London (net support 20%), than in the East Midlands (net support -23%), although, at the national level, support and opposition are balanced. Support increases with household income, which may reflect the fact that tourism sustains a great many low-paid jobs.

Spending on foreign aid should be reduced and reallocated to other priority areas like the Police, the NHS and schools

Slightly depressingly, there is broad support for this notion, regardless of age, household income, region or political persuasion. Overall, net support runs at +64%, (77% support, 13% oppose), and even those indicating an allegiance to the Liberal Democrats were in favour by a margin of 2:1. You can probably expect a Conservative administration, or even a Labour one, to cut the International Development budget hard, and fast, if Brexit has the feared impact on Government revenues.

There is much more besides, some seemingly a bit niche, but all of it interesting in its own way. And, because I’m a nice person (most of the time), you can look at the Taxpayers’ Alliance findings here. Take a look, and see what you think…

* Mark Valladares could look at polling tables for hours…

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8 Comments

  • Everybody wants to pay less for what they get. The Taxpayers Alliance push one side of the equation pay less, what they don’t say is you’ll get less. If they said pay less tax get no NHS, no pension and holes with a little bit of road round them, how many would want the tax cut. Damm few and those that did would be either very, very rich ( those that fund the 1% Alliance) or fools.

  • nigel hunter 9th Nov '19 - 4:09pm

    Taxes produce public services, should not be cut. Cut the cost of motoring by selling positive aspects of buses.Less stress on dealing with traffic being jammed in on traffic stops etc. Increase tax incentives to ELECTRIC bus services production by increasing Road tax per inflation level. This could reduce the amount of cars produced saving raw materials. Seeing we are going into a new climate era new ideas have to be pushed. Why should Labour push the radical agenda.

  • Personally I would cash limit the overseas aid budget – that is putting it up by inflation but not GDP growth. There is a slight problem that now everything tends to be linked to GDP growth – leaving less flexibility. Alternatively I would link defence and overseas aid together and put some of the defence budget into overseas aid.

    I am a massive fan of overseas aid. Not least because the richer the developing world get the more they can afford more goods and services produced by Britain. Bill Gates’ work has estimated that overseas aid has the potential to limit population growth by a billion people. For those concerned by global warming this has massive potential to limit global warming.

    We are one of the few countries that meet the goal of 0.7% of GDP going in aid and the only European NATO country to meet 2% of GDP on defence (Germany is almost half that at 1.2%) . I think though the timing of massively increasing overseas aid during the days of “austerity” in 2010-15 was a mistake in that we have all the issues of poverty, benefits and public services. But it was good of us to (partially) sacrifice our electoral prospects for those in severe poverty!

    In general we need more publicity and campaign on overseas aid and how it is in our country’s economic and environmental interests to counter the Daily Mail’s drip drip of negative stories.

    There is a lot of good info on Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation’s website at https://www.gatesfoundation.org/ – almost make me forgive Windows – well almost!!!

  • Roland Postle 10th Nov '19 - 4:45am

    Most of the poll looks carefully designed to induce acquiescence bias. One sided “Do you agree/support..” questions just don’t produce good data.

    There’s also research that indicates different groups in society acquiesce more or less than others, correlating with factors such as their age, politics and educational attainment level, so even conclusions like ‘more support for lower CT in lower income households’ are very suspect in my opinion.

    Have you ever been in a rush and a pollster corners you offering a £10 Amazon voucher? “It’ll only take a couple of minutes” they always say. 10 minutes later you’re bored stiff and don’t care about the accuracy of your answers, only about getting the poll done politely, getting the voucher, and getting out of there. (I don’t know if street mugging is the method Public First use for their polls but some equivalent scenario probably applies).

    Incidentally Public First seem to me fairly transparent about the fact they use polling as a lobbying tool to further their clients aims, not as a measure of genuine opinion:
    ( http://www.publicfirst.co.uk/our-approach.html ) “We help organisations understand and influence public opinion through research and targeted communications campaigns.”

  • John Marriott 10th Nov '19 - 8:22am

    @Michael 1
    Welcome back. We’ve missed your enthusiasm. Well, at least I have. Where have you been?

    Like you, I see the advantage of our providing overseas aid. The criterion I would use is that aid should mainly be used to help the so called underdeveloped countries help themselves. (“Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe” the Germans call it,) Countries like India, with their nuclear and space programmes do not look like underdeveloped countries to me.

    I agree with looking after your own people first, if that’s what you mean. However, to cut off overseas aid completely, which is often the fall back position for many people, would be a mistake. Just let’s much sure that aid does end up in the Swiss bank account of some dodgy third world politician.

  • @john Marriott

    Ah… Who would have thought that you would miss me!!!! Thanks!!!!

    (I had limited internet access for part of the summer on holiday and have then been lurking and the problem is that if I start commenting as you may just have noticed I start arguing the toss and thinking about things and looking things up on the internet where I think people are wrong or inaccurate and… and….

    Well no… actually that’s not the case – my chatbot AI module needed upgrading – the question is whether I have passed the Turing test???)

    To which end…

    We don’t give aid any more to India – well may be a miniscule amount https://www.google.com/url?https://dfidnews.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/27/uk-aid-to-india-uk-no-longer-gives-any-money-to-indian-government

    It is understandable that people on low incomes here say why should we spend money on others abroad. But actually those on low incomes are more generous as a proportion of their incomes when there is a disaster as they can empathize with people in a difficult situation. There is also an argument as.to why we should fund governments when they spend money on armies etc. It was though ever thus, the first raising of income tax in this country was to raise an army and fight wars rather than alleviate the condition of the peasantry. And by definition a government will have a military as if it doesn’t then it gets replaced by one that does! And arguably we owe our current riches as the fifth biggest economy due to the exploitation of these countries by the British Empire so we do owe them something back!

    But there is a massive double or indeed triple or quadruple whammy to aid.

    The biggest reason is that as I said massively in our medium term economic interests to have a wealthier world.

    Those concerned about climate change need to support restricting population growth as wealthier people have fewer children and if we cut the (I believe) 2 to 3 billion growth in developing countries by a billion that is a major help even if their per capita carbon emissions is miniscule.

    We would be far better off diverting our defence spending which is mainly a waste and “toys for the boys” into aid or at least some of it.

    To correct myself the former USSR countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania spend 2.1% of GDP on defence and Greece (!) 2.3%

  • Peter Hirst 11th Nov '19 - 4:03pm

    It is depressing that support for international aid is so low. This self centred mind set is going to take some changing. The economic case for targeted aid needs to be made as well as the effects on climate change, migration and trafficking.

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