In the most recent ConservativeHome survey we asked which tax you would like to be cut first. You chose inheritance tax but income tax wasn’t far behind:
- Inheritance tax: 27%
- Income tax: 20%
- Council tax: 18%
- Tax on married couples: 15%
- Stamp duty on house purchase: 8%
- Corporate tax: 5%
- National insurance: 4%
- VAT: 2%
- Taxes on alcohol and cigarettes: Less than 1%
The most unpopular tax amongst the whole population – according to an ICM survey for the TaxPayers’ Alliance last summer – is council tax (but inheritance tax wasn’t far behind).
We then asked for your general views tax. 84% of respondents agreed
with the supply-side argument that "the right sort of tax cuts pay for
themselves by boosting economic growth". Almost as popular was the
contention that "tax simplification is as important as tax reduction".
79% agreed with that.
Mr Osborne can take comfort from the fact that 49% of the 1,274 members
who answered the August survey, agreed that "we should not promise tax
cuts before the election but should reduce
the tax burden when in Government as and when economic growth makes it
affordable". That’s effectively half of members endorse the ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’ formulation.
More concerning for the Shadow Chancellor is that only 34% said that
they were "happy to pay green taxes if other taxes fall by the same
amount". Perhaps we believe a politician when they say they’ll raise
taxes but don’t believe them when they promise a cut? Just 16% agreed
that "green taxes are vital to tackle environmental problems." A
previous ConservativeHome survey showed that members would prefer a technology-led approach to environmental challenges.
Although 87% agreed that tax was likely to be important in moving
people’s votes at the next election only 7% thought it would be the
number one factor.
My guess – partly based on David Cameron’s Yorkshire Post interview –
is that tax relief for married couples will be announced when some or
all of the Gummer-Goldsmith green taxes are embraced by George Osborne.