Exclusive: 39% of UK adults see Tories as high tax party vs 27% for Labour – poll

Sienna Rodgers
© Ilyas Tayfun Salci/Shutterstock.com

39% of UK adults see the Conservatives as “the party of high taxation”, against 27% who would describe Labour as the party of high taxes, exclusive polling by Savanta ComRes for LabourList shows.

Asked which political party is the party of low taxation, 30% named Labour, 27% cited the Tories, and 28% said neither, while 21% replied that they did not know, in the new research involving 2,226 adults in the UK.

Labour leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves have been focusing their attacks on how the governing party has raised taxes, calling the Conservatives “the party of high taxation and low growth” in recent months.

Reeves warned voters in January that backing the Tories would lead to “another lost decade of low growth, high taxes and a deepening cost of living crisis”. Labour has opposed the National Insurance hike taking effect in April.

Savanta ComRes associate director Chris Hopkins said: “For years the Conservatives have been known as the party of low tax, but no more, it seems, with Labour more likely to be seen as the party of low tax and the Conservatives the party of high tax.

“The fear among Conservatives will be that parties that raise taxes tend to be punished at the ballot box but there is, ultimately, a long way to go before people truly trust an alternative Labour government with economic competence and that they wouldn’t raise taxes if in power again.”

The new findings by Savanta ComRes for LabourList also reveal that an overwhelming 75% of UK adults believe the government is not doing enough to tackle the cost-of-living crisis amid spiralling energy bills and rising food prices.

The largest proportion, at 40%, said the government is “not doing anywhere near enough”, and a further 35% said it is “not doing quite enough”. A total of 20% were found to believe that the government is doing enough.

In signs that Rishi Sunak still retains popularity after introducing bold measures to support people during Covid, however, the same research found that 34% disapprove of his performance as Chancellor and 32% approve.

Sunak used his Spring Statement to unveil a cut to fuel duty of 5p per litre for 12 months, raise the threshold at which workers start paying National Insurance by £3,000 a year and outline a future 1p reduction in income tax.

Reeves declared in response to the measures that the Chancellor “does not understand the scale of the challenge” and highlighted that the government has “put up taxes on families and businesses a staggering 15 times” over two years.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated 3.8% in growth this year, after having forecast 6% when Sunak delivered his full Budget in October. Inflation is predicted to hit a 40-year high of 8.7% in the final three months of 2022.

Below are the results of the latest polling by Savanta ComRes for LabourList.

Which of the following political parties would you say is the party of low taxation?

Conservative – 27%
Labour – 30%
Neither – 28%
Don’t know – 21%

Which of the following political parties would you say is the party of high taxation?

Conservative – 39%
Labour – 27%
Neither – 14%
Don’t know – 20%

To what extent would you say the government is, or is not, doing enough to tackle the cost of living crisis?

Doing more than enough – 3%
Doing about enough – 17%
Not doing quite enough – 35%
Not doing anywhere near enough – 40%
Don’t know – 5%

Sum: Doing enough – 20%
Sum: Not doing enough – 75%

To what extent do you approve or disapprove with the job Rishi Sunak is doing as Chancellor?

Approve greatly – 6%
Approve somewhat – 25%
Neither approve nor disapprove – 26%
Disapprove somewhat – 17%
Disapprove greatly – 17%
Don’t know – 8%

Sum: Approve – 32%
Sum: Disapprove – 34%

Polling by Savanta: ComRes for LabourList. Fieldwork conducted 25th-27th March 2022. Poll of 2,226 adults in the UK.

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