Voters resigned to tax rises, despite Labour and Conservative pledges

New polling from Ipsos, conducted in partnership with the Financial Times, has revealed that a majority of voters expect tax rises following the upcoming election, no matter which party wins on July 4th.

The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
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New polling from Ipsos, conducted in partnership with the Financial Times, has revealed that a majority of voters expect tax rises following the upcoming election, no matter which party wins on July 4th. This is despite both Labour and the Conservatives pledging not to raise national insurance, VAT, or income tax. However, 37% of voters want an increase in spending on public services, even if it means they pay more in taxes. Overall, almost half (47%) of Britons say that they feel worse off since the last time an election was called in 2019 – though this is the lowest proportion since 2022.

Scepticism over tax pledges 

  • Over half of Britons expect both Labour and the Conservatives to raise taxes, despite recent pledges by both parties that they will not raise national insurance, VAT, or income tax. 
  • The public is significantly more likely to believe that the Labour party will increase spending on public services (59%) than the Conservatives (32%).
     
More than half expect Labour and the Conservatives to increase taxes

 

  • Of those who voted Labour in 2019, 49% say that they want increased spending on public services, even if it increases the taxes that they pay. 25% say they want taxes they personally pay cut, even it means less money for public services. 17% prefer neither option. 
  • Conservative voters are divided, at 33% in favour of increased spending and 32% want tax cuts. 27% say neither.
     
2019 Labour voters say they would prefer spending on public services to be increased, even if it means they pay more in taxes.


Perceptions of the economy 

  • 68% of Britons describe the current state of the British economy as poor. 
  • Although almost half (47%) of Britons believe that they are worse off since the last election in 2019, this is the lowest proportion since 2022. 
  • When asked about specific economic indicators, Britons say that the cost of groceries, housing costs, and energy bills are most likely to influence the way that they decide to vote.
     
The cost of groceries, energy bills and rent/the interest rate attached to mortgages are most important to Britons’ decision about who to vote for


Commenting on the findings, Keiran Pedley, head of political research at Ipsos, said: 


Although both Labour and the Conservatives have promised not to hike VAT, national insurance, or income tax, the majority of the British public are resigned to tax rises – demonstrating a lack of faith in these pledges. There are some signs of increased economic optimism – while nearly half of voters report being worse off since the last election in 2019, this is the lowest proportion since 2022. However, it is clear that the cost of living crisis is still very much at the forefront of the minds of voters, with over 8 in 10 saying that essential costs such as energy bills, housing, and groceries will play an important role in their decision at the ballot box.

Technical note

  • Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 2,136 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Polling was conducted online on between 24-27 May 2024. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs

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