General Election 2015: Poll Tax popularity resurges among Tory and Ukip supporters – but only if you don’t call it by its name
It was arguably the least popular tax ever levied in the UK, and contributed to the demise of the Iron Lady, but nearly 25 years after the Poll Tax was first introduced it seems some voters would approve its return.
Back in 1990 around 200,000 people took to the streets to protest the introduction of the Community Charge, which would apply a flat rate of tax to each individual rather than their property, leading to the worst riots in 100 years.
And yet a poll carried out by YouGov to mark the anniversary of the riots suggests that 44 per cent of those who voted Tory in the 2010 election would support bringing it back – without using the “Poll Tax” tag – while 39 per cent said they would oppose it. One in four Ukip supporters said they approved.
On average, 31 per cent of respondents said they would support its return, compared with 46 per cent who said they would oppose it. Liberal Democrats were the least keen, with 21 per cent supporting it versus 68 per cent opposing.
Tories were least likely to strongly oppose the tax – with just 17 per cent recording that as their response, compared with 30 per cent for Labour supporters and 39 per cent for Liberal Democrats.
When the pollsters introduced the phrase Poll Tax, those numbers shifted, although 39 per cent of Tory voters said it was a good policy, with 29 per cent saying it was bad.
Some 14 per cent of Labour and Lib Dem supporters said it was good, compared with 60 per cent and 57 per cent who said respectively it was a bad policy.
When it comes to whether it was right for people to refuse to pay it, Ukip supporters shift their views, with 47 per cent agreeing it was an “unfair tax” that people were right to resist. Only Labour had a higher level of support on this point, at 48 per cent.
More than two-thirds of Conservatives (68 per cent) and half of Liberal Democrats (51 per cent) said it was unacceptable for people to refuse to pay tax.
Ukip supporters were also most vocal when it came to the current system, with 67 per cent saying it was unfair, compared with the average of 44 per cent.