We’ve had an e-mail from the Taxpayers’ Alliance…

Naturally, here at Liberal Democrat Voice, we receive a great many approaches from individuals and organisations, inviting us to publish something from them on our site. Many of them are the usual spam, telling us how wonderful the site is, how much they enjoy it and that an article on property renovation is exactly what our readers would most need. Oddly, we tend to ignore most of them so, if you’re one of those people, and you are reading this, please stop.

Yesterday, we had an e-mail from a (presumably) young man at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, headed;

New polling from the TaxPayers’ Alliance shows tax cuts are key to winning working class votes

I can almost hear you thinking, “Well, there’s a surprise!”. But I’m a generous soul, and so I responded, noting that, whilst the polling appeared to quite conclusively demonstrate that voters want to pay less tax, there didn’t seem to have been much effort to spell out the consequences, i.e. more tax in other areas or cuts to public services. The (probably charming) young man replied by saying that their methodology was the same as the NHS spending polling over the summer – and the recent Oxfam/Tax Justice UK poll from September on wealth taxes – i.e. they had tested propositions, not the implications of each proposition.

You may conclude, as I did, that he hadn’t really answered the question. And so, gentle reader, I turned down his offer to write something for us.

However, the polling is, in itself, interesting, if only to know how voters think when the consequences of the offer before them are not signposted. Here are the highlights as suggested by the Taxpayers’ Alliance;

  • 6 in 10 C2DE voters strongly favour cutting the basic rate of income tax down to 15p in the pound, down from 20p now.
  • More than three quarters of those polled supported a cap on council tax rises.
  • C2DE voters are more than twice as likely as ABC1 voters to back cutting corporation tax to 12.5 per cent.
  • A majority, at 68 per cent of C2DE voters, backed abolishing the BBC licence fee, compared to 40 per cent amongst ABC1 voters, one of the biggest disparities found between the two groups.
  • There was close alignment between the two groups on support for reforming stamp duty, so that only those moving to homes worth over £1 million should pay, as well as creating an exemption on commercial properties worth up to £250,000 to encourage people to start new businesses.

Interesting stuff, I’m sure that you’ll agree. Interesting, perhaps, in that if you pointed out how much of public spending goes to support C2DE voters, and asked who would fund that if tax rates were much lower, you might get a rather less enthusiastic response to cutting them. I also find myself wondering how many C2DE voters pay corporation tax (the answer is more than you might think, but still not that many).

This sort of polling reminds me a great deal of Brexit, in that many nice things have been promised, without any credible discussion by the promoters of the cost. That said, there is some interesting information amongst the polling, and whilst you might not want to build a tax policy on the basis of any document produced by an organisation whose funding is so opaque, you might well learn something about how you might want to reform tax policy yourselves. So, tomorrow, I’ll take a look at one of their findings…

* Mark Valladares was trained at university to be sceptical about any statistics quoted at him…

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6 Comments

  • John Marriott 7th Nov '19 - 11:38am

    As I am often heard to say; “Many people in the UK expect Scandinavian levels of public services on North American levels of taxation”. I would have nothing whatsoever to do with the so called ‘Taxpayers’ Alliance’. Matthew Elliott used to run it, for one thing, so you can see where they are coming from. Enough said. They remind me of the many Ratepayers’ Associations that sprang up in the 1970s, some of which are still around to this day. The latter were a reaction to ‘the rates’, which helped to bring in the Poll Tax, which has now morphed into ‘rates by another name’.

    Nobody wants to waste public money; but you get what you pay for. In fact nobody really wants to pay more direct tax than they need to – in fact, any tax. The Taxpayers’ Alliance strike me as the kind of people with Rees-Moggian ‘commonsense’, ie ‘I’ve got it so I’ll make damn sure that I’m going to keep it!’ As for me, living on a state and occupational pension, I would be quite prepared to pay a little more income tax and forgo my free TV licence and bus pass. Perhaps I am in a minority. After all, I’ve been a liberal for most of my life and probably still am in some ways!

  • John Marriott – if this poll is true, then the stuffs that happen in North America are happening here: the working class have eaten too much right-wing propaganda.

    “Many people in the UK expect Scandinavian levels of public services on North American levels of taxation” – Agree. If you survey people on service sending, the majority would favour spending increases, probably with an even bigger margin.

  • nigel hunter 7th Nov '19 - 1:11pm

    Tax cuts for A has consequences for B ie less for public services which are cut or then have to rely on voluntary help to run, on the cheap.Those who have had tax cuts will be happy ,more money to get richer at others expense. Tufton Street,hot bed of US right wingism.
    One US idea, Health Insurance, if you run out of money have to borrow it to continue your treatment, get into debt. Run out of funds for drugs go to Canada ,they are cheaper.Robbing Peter to pay Paul is a way to the bottom..

  • Richard Underhill. 8th Nov '19 - 8:42am

    Simon Reeves has a series on BBC tv. In California he visits a derelict military base on land which is worthless for agriculture and has been used as a base for squatters.
    Another lives inside a flyover.
    He moved on to Mexico.

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