Conflicting views on Scottish income tax in latest opinion poll

Written by Jenni Davidson on 28 April 2016 in News

Voters appear to contradict themselves about income tax policy in a new opinion poll

Voters appear to contradict themselves about what tax policies they want to see in Scotland in a new opinion poll.

While a majority said they wanted Scotland’s tax policies to stay the same as the rest of the UK, they also said they supported changes to that diverge from the UK.

Sixty-four per cent supported and 30 per cent opposed keeping income tax rates in Scotland the same as the rest of the UK, according to the Ipsos MORI poll for STV News.

This is the tax policy proposed by the Scottish Conservatives.


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However, individual questions on different tax rates elicited responses in support of tax policy changes that are differ from those of the UK Government.

Seventy-five per cent said they were in favour of raising the top rate of income tax from 45p to 50p for those earning over £150,000, as proposed by Scottish Labour, with only 22 per cent against the rise.

An even greater increase in the top rate from 45p to 60p, as proposed by the Scottish Greens, also had strong support, with 60 per cent in favour and 36 per cent against.

Fifty-seven per cent agreed that the threshold for paying the higher rate of income tax should be £43,000 plus inflation, as proposed by the SNP, with only 31 per cent opposed.

The UK Government will raise the higher rate threshold to £45,000.

There was majority support too for adding a penny onto the basic and higher rates of income tax, with 52 per cent for and 41 per cent against.

The penny on basic rate and higher rate income tax policy has been proposed by Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The two parties diverge, however, on the additional rate for those earning over £150,000, which the Lib Dems would also raise by a penny while Labour would increase it by 5p.

Ipsos MORI Scotland director Mark Diffley said it was not unusual to get such apparently conflicting answers in opinion polls.

He told Holyrood: “On the face of it, the attitudes to tax look somewhat contradictory for some voters who argue both for increased taxes while supporting rates remaining the same both north and south of the border.

“However it is plausible that you may want taxes to be higher across the UK – in other words that the UK Government increases tax and the Scottish Government follows suit to ensure parity.”

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