Two thirds of British voters would pay more tax for NHS budget boost

Two thirds of British voters wouldn’t mind paying more tax to foot Theresa May’s £20bn-a-year budget boost for the NHS

  • According to the poll six out of ten voters think May should spend more on NHS 
  • The British Social Attitudes survey published the results of the survey this week 
  • But voters are only prepared to back tax increases if they benefit themselves

Most voters back Theresa May’s plan to raise taxes to spend more on the NHS, an influential research group claims.

Six out of ten think the Government should tax and spend more, including more than half of all Tories, it said.

The findings from the respected British Social Attitudes survey are likely to reinforce Downing Street confidence that the electorate will support higher taxation if the money goes to improve the NHS.

Theresa May proposed a £22billion boost to the NHS earlier this year in a package that will partially be funded through tax-hikes

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But voters are only prepared to back increased taxation if the money is spent on areas from which they will personally benefit. 

The survey, which is carried out annually with funding from Whitehall, found that those aged between 18 and 34 were more than twice as likely to favour extra spending on education than the over-55s.

By contrast, older voters were more likely to support spending on the NHS.

The suggestion that voters are strongly behind tax increases will be greeted with scepticism by many MPs. 

Past elections have shown that while people frequently tell pollsters they are willing to pay higher taxes, they are less likely to choose greater taxation when in the privacy of the polling station.

Some voters are also believed to feel under pressure to tell surveys they support higher taxation for the public good when in reality they do not.

NHS waiting times have soared over the past few years with doctors warning of critical deficiencies in funding

The Social Attitudes Survey, which questions 3,000 people about a range of views, found that some 67 per cent of Labour supporters and 53 per cent of Tories are in favour of higher taxation. 

The last time Tory supporters showed majority support for increased taxation and spending was in 2002.

Four out of ten Tories and 26 per cent of Labour supporters think taxation and spending should stay the same, and only four per cent of supporters of either party are in favour of lower taxes, it said.

Roger Harding of the National Centre for Social Research, which conducts the survey, said: ‘Since 2010 the proportion of people who want more tax and spend has nearly doubled and shows the country is clearly tiring of austerity.’

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