There is strong majority support for a “mansion tax” to be included in Chancellor George Osborne’s March 20 Budget, according to new polling by Kantar Public. There is also strong backing for the return of the 10p base rate of income tax and new taxes on financial services.

However, there is little support for a rise in general taxation, though a substantial minority would be prepared to pay more tax to help the NHS.

The research found that fuel duty is the most resented tax in the UK, followed by council tax and VAT. It also found a high level of opposition to next month’s reduction of the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p in the pound – 45% said they disapprove, with 22% approving.

Nearly two thirds of voters back the “mansion tax” on houses worth more than £2m, a policy favoured by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, but which has been firmly ruled out by the Chancellor. Approval is relatively uniform across the country – even in London, which would be most affected by the policy. The measure would be especially popular among those aged 35-44, among parents and among those in employment.

Reintroducing the 10p bottom rate of tax – a policy favoured by Labour and some Conservative backbenchers – is backed by 38%, with only 12% disapproving, and there is a similar majority for new taxes on financial services.

There is overwhelming majority support for the government’s recent move to “name and shame” those who avoid tax (76%) and for it to “do more about multinational companies avoiding tax” (84%).

A third of those polled want to see taxes remain the same in the Budget, and almost the same number want to see a tax cut, with only 10% supporting an increase. However, when asked if they would be prepared to pay higher taxes “if this money was ring-fenced and spent on improving the NHS”, 43% backed the idea, with 22% against.

On overall taxation policy, there is clear majority support for the proposition that tax cuts help economic growth (53% vs 10%) and more people agree than disagree that taxes should rise to “safeguard spending on public services” (32% vs 25%)
Half of respondents have no opinion on which party’s tax policies are fairer to the average person or more likely to deliver economic growth. Among those who had a view, Labour scored a clear majority on fairness (23% against 13% for the Conservatives and 7% for the Liberal Democrats), but only a narrow majority on economic growth (20% vs 16% and 4%). Support for Labour on both counts is strongest among those in employment and in Greater London.

More than half of respondents (57%) say tax policy is important in their decision about which party to vote for, with 19% saying it is very important.

Nick Howat, Head of Social and Political Attitudes at Kantar Public, said: “This research shows that the British public feel that they are currently paying enough taxation and they think that the government should instead be looking for a larger financial contribution from the wealthy, large companies and the financial services industry. The research also shows that although most voters say that tax policy is important, the majority are unsure which party has the tax policies which would most encourage economic growth or that are the fairest. Politicians who can effectively communicate their tax policies to the electorate could win over undecided voters on this key issue.”

Ranking of the UK’s least loved taxes:

Which of these taxes would you resent paying the most?

Fuel duty 51%
Council tax 34%
VAT 31%
Inheritance tax 26%
Car tax 22%
Income tax/national insurance 20%
Stamp duty 14%
Excise duty on cigarettes and alcohol 11%

Base: All respondents in Great Britain aged 18+ (1,213). Note: respondents were able to select up to three answers.

Notes to editors:
Detailed tables for this survey can be found attached. Please treat with caution those figures where the sample size – the unweighted base – is less than 50.

TNS Omnibus interviewed 1,213 GB adults between 21st and 25th February.

About Kantar Public
Kantar Public is a leading provider of specialist social research, offering insight into public policy to government and not-for-profit clients. Delivering a range of approaches including bespoke proprietary research and public affairs, random probability survey capabilities, as well as social marketing and polling, Kantar Public is the largest commercial provider of social research and insight to Whitehall. Kantar Public is part of the TNS group.

Kantar Public – Understanding society, public services and change. For more information please visit us on our website at www.tns-bmrb.co.uk.

About Kantar
Kantar is one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 95 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. For further information, please visit us at www.kantar.com.

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