Two thirds of voters oppose new NHS tax


Big majority of electorate believes NHS requires reform rather than extra money

67 per cent of British voters oppose an increase in income tax to pay more towards the NHS, according to a new poll commissioned by the independent think tank Reform and released on 3 September 2014. All categories of voters oppose the idea, with greatest opposition from women, young people and those on lower incomes. A majority of voters in Scotland, Wales and every English region oppose the idea.

The Populus poll of 2,010 people follows speculation that a new NHS income tax may be introduced at the General Election. In fact the poll finds that 60 per cent of voters agree that the NHS needs reform more than it needs extra money, against 12 per cent who disagree.

72 per cent of voters agree with the statement, “If the government reformed public services and cut waste, it could make services better and cut taxes at the same time.” Only 6 per cent disagree.

An additional penny on the basic rate of income tax would cost the average income taxpayer nearly £11.00 a month in 2014-15, rising to £12.50 in 2016-17. Even supporters of a higher tax do not support an increase at that level. Supporters of an NHS tax would pay £8.36 a month on average.

The poll also finds that 62 per cent of the public agree that, “It shouldn’t matter whether hospitals and surgeries are run by the government, not-for-profit organisations or the private sector, provided that everyone including the least well off has access to care.” 17 per cent disagree.

Andrew Haldenby, Reform’s Director, said, “By a big majority, the public wants NHS reform not a new NHS tax. An extra 1p on income tax would cost the average income taxpayer £12.50 a month in the next Parliament. Even voters who support an NHS tax are not willing to pay that much.”

Key findings include:

  • Asked “Would you be willing to pay higher income tax to fund more spending on the NHS?”, 67 per cent of voters said, “No” and 33 per cent said “Yes.
  • Opposition rose to 71 per cent amongst female voters; 73 per cent amongst 18-24 year-olds; 74 per cent amongst 25-34 year-olds; and 70 per cent amongst DE voters.59 per cent of Scottish voters oppose the move, as do 62 per cent of Welsh voters.
  • Supporters of an NHS tax would pay an extra £8.36 a month on average. Pensioners would pay only £4.80 a month. An increase of 1p on the basic rate of income tax would cost the average income taxpayer around £11.00 a month in 2014-15, rising to £12.50 in 2016-17.
  • 60 per cent of voters agree with the statement, “The NHS needs reform more than it needs extra money.” 12 per cent disagree.
  • 72 per cent agree that, “If the government reformed public services and cut waste, it could make services better and cut taxes at the same time.” 6 per cent disagree.
  • 62 per cent agree that, “It shouldn’t matter whether hospitals and surgeries are run by the government, not-for-profit organisations or the private sector, provided that everyone including the least well off has access to care.” 17 per cent disagree.
  • 40 per cent of the public agree that, “Politicians are right to rule out alternatives to the taxpayer-funded NHS.” 21 per cent disagree.

External Links

The Populus Poll summary

The full poll tables in:

PDF

CSV