Less than a third of the public thinks the Conservatives are a low-tax party

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid come to No 9 Downing Street for a press conference on the national insurance tax hike. September 7. Credit: Alamy.

Kate proctor

5 minutes to read

Only one in three citizens believe the Conservatives are currently a low tax party, revealing the potential scale of the battle ahead to regain their tax reputation.

Thirty percent of those polled exclusively for The House magazine said the party advocates lower taxes, compared with almost 29 percent who disagreed. Another 40 percent neither agreed nor disagreed or did not know.

Questions about the Conservatives’ position on taxation appear to be a fault line within Boris Johnson’s party; on his return to parliament he announced a 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance to pay for health and social care and the NHS backlog.

Our poll by Redfield and Wilton Strategies on September 1 and 2, before the tax hike was officially confirmed, will be hard reading for the party, which for decades has had a reputation for cutting taxes and avoiding investing. the burden of increasing workers’ incomes.

By announcing the tax hike on September 7, Johnson was able to offer his party the only reassurance that he was still “emotionally” committed to cutting taxes, but could not rule out further hikes to meet the cost of the tax. the pandemic.

Those who voted Conservative in the last election were more likely to think the party advocates a low tax rate, with 44% agreeing, versus 18% who disagreed.

The poll also revealed broad support for the government’s program for Afghan refugees following the Taliban takeover of the country.

The announcement that the country would host 20,000 refugees was greeted with the support of 42 percent against 27 percent who opposed it – the rest were unaware of it.

Johnson has also received a boost if he decides to call an early general election, with the poll finding support from both Conservative and Labor voters.

If the prime minister announced a vote before 2024, 42% of the public said they would support him, compared with 16% who oppose and 34% who neither support nor oppose him.

For Tory voters, 44% would be happy to go to the polls before the end of the traditional five-year term, rising to 50% for those who voted Labor in the 2019 general election.

The results show Johnson continues to take a strong lead over Labor leader Keir Starmer with 43% saying he makes a better PM, compared to 29% who believe the Labor leader would be superior.

However, Johnson’s popularity has been on the decline since the spring when the same question was asked to the public. In March, 50% thought he was the best prime minister, compared to 27% in favor of Starmer.

Johnson’s continuing preference over the Labor leader comes as he has garnered support from a number of high-profile policies.

The immunization program achieved an 87% satisfaction rate, up 5% since March. The government’s proposed plan to vaccinate healthy 12-15 year olds is still awaiting a final decision from the chief medical officers of the four decentralized nations, and our poll shows 64% of Britons would support it, compared with 14% who would. oppose it. this.

The controversial reduction in foreign aid from 0.7 percent of GDP to 0.5 percent that led to a major conservative backbench rebellion earlier this year has also proved popular with the public.
A majority (54%) supported the reduction announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in April, while only 18% opposed it.

The most damning outcome for the PM in the long run could be his handling of the Covid pandemic, which saw 41% of those polled disapprove of his handling, compared to 36% who approved.

Disapproval regarding the management of Covid was constant among men and women and across all age groups except the 55-64 and over 65 age group. For the elderly, Johnson’s handling of the pandemic got an average approval of 43.5%, compared with 37% of those who disapproved.

In 2021, people’s views on their finances and the potential for rebuilding the economy have also changed.

In the spring poll, there were many concerns that the coronavirus crisis was worse than the 2008 financial crash, although people’s feelings about their personal finances appear to have stabilized.

Almost half of the public expect their financial situation at the end of 2021 to be the same as at the start of the year, with 45% expecting their financial situation to remain the same in 12 months, against a quarter who thinks it will get worse.

More than half of people think they will be in the same job in a year.

The poll of 1,500 eligible voters in all regions and nations of the UK was carried out on September 1 and 2.

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