Latest Public Sector News

25.06.18

Over half of public want to pay more taxes for social care and homelessness

Taxpayers across the UK are willing to have more taken out of their paychecks to be spent on services including health, emergency services and homelessness, according to a new report.

Despite support for varied services differing around the country, support was particularly high nationally for issues such as helping older people to live independently and supporting homeless people.

Willingness to pay more for health was the highest priority for extra cash from respondents, with only 20% feeling that nothing extra should be paid towards it – while a sizeable one in 10 were willing to pay a massive £50 extra per month to fund the UK’s health budgets.

The survey, conducted by think tank Localis, found that adult social care was also high on the public’s agenda, with around 55% of respondents willing to pay more tax for the cash-strapped sector to be funded.

Interestingly, departments such as bin collection and recycling were low on the public’s priorities: a whopping near-half of respondents felt no extra funding should be given to waste collection, whilst around 45% of the public felt no more resources should be invested in public transport.

In terms of one-off payments to improve services, support was at its largest for helping elderly people live independently for longer, with around two in three of taxpayers willing to make a payment to the sector. Supporting the homeless was also a popular option, as a quarter of those surveyed would spend an extra £10-£25 in one-off payments to help those sleeping rough in the UK.

Jonathan Werran, interim chief executive of Localis, said: “Councils need greater fiscal flexibilities through the government either raising precept caps significantly or by outright abolishing laws for triggering council tax referendums.

“But for their part residents deserve a right to choose by voting on spending packages funded by hikes in council tax charges, as well as a say in how extra funds raised by voluntary levies should be allocated to community groups delivering local services.”

The think tank called on the government to relax its capping of council tax increases, and instead tie tax rises to specific services and issues that reflect goodwill.

Localis also recommended providing citizens with a “more direct role” in budget-setting and priorities: “The government should provide residents with the opportunity to direct up to twenty percent of total revenue raised to specific services and for achieving certain outcomes.”

All figures are sourced from an online YouGov survey conducted between 8-9 March this year, in which 1,620 adults participated.

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Image Credit: MarioGuti

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