YouGov’s new poll for the Sunday Times includes one set of numbers that will
be of particular interest to George Osborne at the moment. It asks the public: ‘If the government has money available to cut taxes in the budget later this month which of the following tax
cuts would you most like to see?’ Here are the results:
With the news this week that fuel prices are at an all-time high and expected to rise further, it’s hardly surprising that the public
support a cut in the taxes on it. The AA, among others, has already called on the Chancellor to abandon the 3p rise in
line with inflation currently planned for August. Last week, Osborne didn’t sound terribly
likely to bow to their demands, but as Pete said on Tuesday, he might surprise us still.
Perhaps more likely is the second tax cut on this list: the Liberal Democrat policy of raising the personal allowance to £10,000 — which The Spectator backed last week. This proposal is incredibly popular — last week’s YouGov poll found 90 per cent support it. It would help working families at a time of
stagnant real wages, and would provide a strong boost for economic growth.
YouGov also breaks down the responses by voting intention, with eye-catching results. Petrol duty is the number one choice of 40 per cent of Tory voters, followed by raising the allowance (32 per
cent), with a VAT cut a distant third (16 per cent). Labour voters are fairly evenly split between the top three policies, while Lib Dem voters — unsurprisingly — are most likely to
choose raising the allowance (41 per cent).
Of course, these numbers won’t determine what we see in this month’s budget. After all, that first part of the question – ‘If the government has money available to cut
taxes’ – is a big if. But they won’t escape the attention of George Osborne or Andrew Cooper. They’ll serve as yet another reminder of how unpopular it would be, for
example, to cut the 50p rate while not raising the personal allowance.