Three quarters of Britons support wealth taxes on millionaires

Fintan SmithPolitical Research Executive
January 23, 2023, 4:34 PM GMT+0

YouGov tests support for tax reforms on the richest portion of the population

Keir Starmer has faced calls from many of his own MPs to impose taxes on the wealthiest in Britain, often broadly referred to as ‘wealth taxes’. However, Starmer has refrained from declaring his support or opposition for any particular policy, instead insisting that those with ‘the broadest shoulders’ should pay more, suggesting he would back some form of wealth taxation.

Britons support the creation of wealth taxes

YouGov tested two proposals for long-term wealth taxation, along with a further proposal for a one-off wealth tax. In principle, most Britons support a wealth tax, especially when the threshold for paying the tax is high. Around three quarters would support a wealth tax of 2% on wealth over £5 million (73%), and of 1% on wealth over £10 million (78%). Both proposals draw cross party support, with seven in ten Conservative (69%) voters supporting the former, and 77% supporting the latter, along with 83% and 86% of Labour voters respectively.

However, the idea of a one-off wealth tax of 1% on wealth over £500,000 for five years is less appealing. Academics at the Wealth Tax Commission estimate that this would raise £262 billion, with around eight million people qualifying to pay the tax.

Around half (53%) of Britons support this policy, with 25% opposed. While two thirds of Labour voters remain in favour of this kind of wealth tax (66%), Conservative voters are divided 45% to 41%.

Labour voters support raising capital gains tax, Conservative voters are divided

One proposition for taxing the wealthiest is to raise capital gains tax, which is paid when selling assets like property and shares, so that is in line with the rate of tax paid on income from work. The government’s Office for Tax Simplification estimates that this could raise up to £14 billion a year in tax revenue.

Overall, the public tend to back this move, with 41% supportive and 30% opposed. However, Conservative voters overall tend to be opposed (36% support, 44% oppose), while Labour voters are supportive by 53% to 21%.

Labour’s proposed non-dom reforms poll well

Labour have already announced plans to end non-dom tax status if they win power, replacing it with a scheme more in line with other European nations’. Non-dom tax status allows UK residents with permanent homes abroad to avoid paying tax on any overseas income.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has suggested that this new scheme would see people who previously qualified for non-dom tax status still having certain tax benefits, but only for up to a maximum of five years. Britons tend to support this policy as well, by 48% to 10%, with a large number unsure (42%). Both Conservative and Labour voters say they would back such a move (57% and 53%) respectively.

See full tables here

Photo: Getty

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