Voters’ priorities shifting away from lower taxes and towards improving hospitals, thinktank finds
A new Survation poll for the thinktank Onward has revealed that voters now prioritise improving their local hospital above cuts to fuel duty, income tax or VAT.
When asked to name up to three of the ‘most helpful things that politicians could do to improve the lives of you and your family’ from a list of different social and economic measures, 28.5% of respondents chose ‘Improving my local hospital’, making it the third ranked item in the list. This was significantly higher than for ‘Reducing fuel duty’ (20%), ‘Reducing income tax’ (16.9%) and nearly double ‘Reducing VAT’ (15.7%). The top two priorities were ‘Reducing energy bills’ and ‘Reducing council tax’, chosen by 35% and 33.8% of respondents respectively.
The findings represent a reversal of public priorities in just a few years. In 2012, the thinktank Policy Exchange conducted comparable polling which found that respondents ranked ‘Reducing fuel duty’, ‘Reducing Income tax’, ‘Reducing VAT’ as their second, third and fourth priorities for politicians, after cutting energy bills, which remains the most popular things politicians could do. However, in Onward’s 2018 poll, cutting fuel duty has fallen to fourth, reducing income tax to seventh and cuts to VAT to eighth in the public’s list of political priorities. By contrast, ‘Improving my local hospital’ has risen from the tenth in 2012, to the third ranked priority for voters in 2018.
The full results of Onward’s 2018 poll can be found here: Survation: Onward Polling Final Tables
The Policy Exchange 2012 poll results are available here: https://policyexchange.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/northern-lights-appendix-1.pdf