Exclusive: Majority of UK backs scrapping non-domicile tax status, poll shows

Elliot Chappell
© HM Treasury/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A majority of UK adults support scrapping the non-domicile tax status, exclusive polling by Savanta ComRes for LabourList shows amid an ongoing public backlash caused by revelations relating to Rishi Sunak’s tax affairs.

The new research found that a total of 51% of people backed abolishing the status, which allows individuals to pay a £30,000 levy to avoid paying income tax in the UK on money earned overseas, while just 20% said they would oppose the move. 30% of people told the pollster that they did not know.

Among voters who backed the Conservative Party in the 2019 general election, 57% supported scrapping the ‘non-dom’ tax status. 55% of 2019 Labour voters backed the proposal, as did 60% of those who chose to support the Lib Dems.

Sunak came under pressure over his tax arrangements after it emerged that his wife, Akshata Murty, had claimed non-dom status. She owns a £670m share in global IT company Infosys, from which she received £11.6m in dividend income last year. Murty is estimated to have saved £2.1m a year by claiming non-dom status.

There were reports that the Chancellor was considering his position over the weekend. He moved his family out of their Downing Street residence, back to their home in Kensington. His allies, however, have said the move is related only to wanting to be closer to his daughter’s school.

Sunak requested last week that Boris Johnson launch a Whitehall investigation into his own tax affairs, telling the Prime Minister that he was “confident” that everything had been properly declared since he became a minister in 2018.

60% of those surveyed told Savanta ComRes that it was in the public interest for people to know how much the Chancellor’s wife had saved on her tax bill by claiming non-dom status. 22% thought it was not and 18% said they did not know.

Former Chancellor and current Health Secretary Sajid Javid also revealed last week that he had claimed non-domicile status for six years while working as a banker, before becoming an MP, between 2000 and 2006. He also admitted to holding wealth in an offshore trust until he became a minister in 2012.

Keir Starmer called earlier this week for Johnson to confirm that no other cabinet ministers have used measures to reduce their tax liability, arguing that the revelations showed that it is “one rule for them, and another for everyone else”.

Labour’s 2015 manifesto proposed abolishing non-dom status. Yvette Cooper told the BBC on Sunday that Labour is “carrying out a “review of all the tax exemptions and tax arrangements” and the party’s Steve Reed said earlier this week that Labour is looking to close tax loopholes.

Momentum has called for Labour to commit to scrapping non-dom status, describing the move as a “no-brainer”. The left-wing group tweeted on Monday: “The public are rightly fed up of the rich not paying their fair share. By calling for the abolition of the non-dom loophole, Labour would show it’s in touch with public outrage and put clear red water between our party and an unpopular Tory elite.”

Below is the result of the polling carried out by Savanta ComRes.

Which of the following statements best describes your view?

Non-domicile status should be abolished in the UK – 51%
Non-domicile status should not be abolished in the UK – 20%
Don’t know – 30%

Which of the following statements best describes your view?

It is in the public interest to know how much the Chancellor’s wife, Akshata Murty, has saved on her tax bill because of her non-domicile status – 60%
It is not in the public interest to know how much the Chancellor’s wife, Akshata Murty, has saved on her tax bill because of her non-domicile status – 22%
Don’t know – 18%

Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,145 UK adults aged 18+ online from 8-10 April 2022. Data was weighted to be representative of all UK adults aged 18+ by age, sex, region and SEG.

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