Picture this, if you stood on the corner of the street with a clipboard and survey questionnaire and asked passers by whether they would be happy to see their taxes increase, what do you think the answer would be?
A survey of 1,000 UK people published by the BBC on 5th September 2010 asked that very question…albeit the survey was conducted by ‘phone rather than face-to-face. I found the answer quite surprising – as I suspect you might too. The survey was completed for the BBC between 28 June and 5 July 2010 by international polling firm Globescan, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland, USA.
The survey was taken to be representative of the nation as a whole (I’m no statistician but a survey of this size would usually be considered adequate to represent the nation’s views) and over half said they would accept a tax increase to reduce the country’s financial deficit.
Whilst the overwhelming majority of the respondents accepted the national debt should be cut, the survey concludes it should not be at the cost of some essential public services – most strongly education and the NHS, but also including services for older people. In terms of service quality however the majority view was that only 54p in every pound is spent wisely and serves “…the interests and values of British people”.
The survey also shows a shift in public attitude towards the banks and the same survey a year ago found that 50% of respondents were in favour of the banks being bailed out of the financial crisis…but that has dropped to a third in this 2010 survey.If I had my way, I’d have the banks pay pay any excess profit they make to the nation…in what other situation would a substantial ‘loan’ be provided and yet with no expectation that the debt be paid off?