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Monday 12th September 2011 | 13:05
YouGov have once again released polling showing overwhelming support for retaining the 50p tax rate on earnings above £150,000. Unlike previous polls, the way the question was phrased pointed out that if the rate were abolished, the income would still be taxed at 40% - perhaps explain the slight drop in support for retention, particularly among Conservatives. However, even Tory supporters are evenly split on the issue, with 46% in favour of retention to 43% against.
The most interesting ideological split on the 50p rate, however, comes around the question as to whether it actually raises any money; the answer to which remains fairly elusive. Voters are evenly split on whether this even matters: 45% say it should be scrapped if it’s not a revenue raiser, while 42% think that even if it doesn’t bring in any more cash, it should be retained because “it is morally right that the rich pay higher taxes.”
There’s something almost quaint in seeing political stereotypes confirmed in this way, with the vast majority of Labour supporters seeing the redistributive justice of taxation being as important as its revenue raising function.
The poll perhaps also presents Mr Osborne with an electorally acceptable path to scrapping a policy that clearly goes against all his instincts. If he’s able to convincingly and continuously show that it doesn’t bring in any revenue, he may be able to win the public round. It will however be very difficult to get it past his Coalition partners, but it least it would command some support among the public at large.