Enough tax to fund good public services and a decent safety net is essential to the wellbeing of those on low-to-middle incomes. However, what is ‘enough’ is growing: just to pay for an ageing population and rising health sector costs will require an additional £85bn by 2034 over and above any increase generated by a growing economy, and this before any increased spend on other services.
This poses a significant risk to those on low-to-middle incomes: without these tax increases, parts of the welfare state are in danger of being hollowed out. On the other hand, politicians are under constant electoral pressure not to increase taxes – surveys may report a majority for higher taxes but surveys are not general elections.
With funding from the Standard Life Foundation, Demos is therefore investigating public attitudes towards taxation to try to identify how to raise the tax needed to preserve or improve public services given an ageing population.
We believe that these challenges can be addressed by engaging the public through deliberation, where the costs and benefits of alternative approaches can be discussed, and issues of public as well as personal benefit can be explored.
For further information about this project, please contact Ben Glover at [email protected]