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Majority of Britons support tax rises and more spending, survey finds

The majority of Britons are in favor of raising taxes and social spending, while nearly half are in favor of redistributing income in favor of the less fortunate, according to an annual survey of public attitudes.

About 52 percent of respondents said the government should raise taxes and spend more on health care, education and social benefits, according to research from the National Center for Social Research released Thursday.

The level was 2 percentage points higher than the previous year and 36 percent from a decade ago, reflecting a shift in public concern about social inequalities as the country faces a crisis in the cost of living.

Gillian Prior, deputy chief executive at NatCen, a research institute, said: “Our annual survey suggests that the public is facing the ‘cost of living crisis’ with as much appetite for increased government spending as it was during the pandemic.”

“Recognition of inequalities in Britain is at a level not seen since the 1990s, with people more than a decade ago willing to let the government redistribute income from the wealthy to the less fortunate,” he added. up.

The findings anticipate the mini-budget to be released Friday, in which new Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to announce a package of tax cuts for wealthy and profitable companies.

The measures are likely to include a cut in national insurance policies and the reversal of a planned corporate tax hike designed to boost growth to help the country manage rising inflation and energy bills.

In August inflation in the UK was 9.9 percent, the highest rate in almost 40 years.

This week, Truss froze the energy cap for households at £2,500 a year for the next two years to protect consumers from rising energy costs. She also pledged to focus on “increasing the pie,” rather than redistributing revenue to rebuild the economy.

The survey was based on more than 6,200 responses collected across Britain between September 16 and October 31.

Bar chart of % of respondents who agree with the statement that the majority of the UK population is in favor of more taxes and government spending

The survey found that 49 percent of people think the government should redistribute income from the wealthy to those with fewer resources – 10 percentage points more than in 2019 and the highest level since 1994.

Support for more intervention reflects a shift in national perceptions of well-being. More than two-thirds believe ordinary working people are not getting their fair share of the country’s wealth — the largest share since 1991 and a ten percentage point increase since 2019.

The annual public attitude survey looked at a number of topics. Most people favored introducing “proportional representation” – the voting system in which candidates win seats based on a percentage of votes cast – rather than keeping the current “first past the post”.

Public satisfaction with health care fell to its lowest level in 25 years, as a quarter of people reported not getting the medical treatment they needed in the past year.

The report also shows that support in Scotland for Scottish independence and in Northern Ireland for Irish reunification has increased in recent years.

Sir John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen, said the findings suggest “why Britain appears to be divided, ravaged and ‘broken’.”

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