Today saw the publication of the 34th British Social Attitudes survey. It found that 48% of Britons want the government to raise taxes and increase spending on health, education and social benefits (compared to 44% who want taxes to stay at the same level, and just 4% who want to see them cut). This is the first time since the financial crisis that more people want to see tax rises than taxes staying the same, and reflects a growing public mood in favour of better public services and redistribution of income, and against continued austerity. The same proportion - 48% - think it is wrong to use legal loopholes to avoid paying tax. On the same day, the Government's Social Mobility Commission has published a report (Time for Change) showing that 20 years of attempts to improve social mobility have failed to halt the increasing levels of inequality in our divided country. Taken together, it seems that the public mood is changing, fast.
NOTE: this guest post was originally published by the Tax Justice Network.
The minority UK government elected last week is scrambling to agree a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with a tiny party from Northern Ireland called the DUP (originally the Democratic Unionist Party). The DUP has attracted considerable attention in the past 24 hours because of its Protestant fundamentalist religious values and general social conservatism. TJN would like to point out the DUP’s commitment to tax havenry, and in particular its policy of competing with other countries within the United Kingdom in a race-to-the-bottom on the corporate income tax rate. For many years the DUP has persisted with demanding devolution of power to set a corporate income tax rate from Whitehall to Belfast, and is committed to lowering the corporate income tax rate to 12.5 percent, matching the rate in the Irish republic.