Tax cuts and threshold freezes: Seven in ten Britons don't expect to be better off, new poll finds

Tax cuts and threshold freezes: Seven in ten Britons don't expect to be better off, new poll finds

Seven in ten Britons do not expect to be better off from Jeremy Hunt’s tax changes next year, a new poll reveals.

The Ipsos UK survey for The Standard asked people about the impact of the Chancellor’s cuts to National Insurance, announced in the Autumn Statement and due to take effect in January, and the freeze on Income Tax and NI thresholds which will hit millions again in April.

Taking these factors into account, 32 per cent of adults in Britain expect to pay more tax next year than this year, 40 per cent about the same, and 14 per cent less.

The main rate of National Insurance will go down from 12 per cent to 10 per cent at the start of next year, with similar cuts for the self-employed.

Mr Hunt hailed the move as the “largest ever cut to employee and self-employed National Insurance”, benefiting 29 million working people at a cost of around £9 billion.

But the Treasury is expected to rake in more than £50 billion by 2027-28 due to the freezes on tax and NI thresholds, with millions more people being dragged into pay the higher rate of income tax, including many Londoners.

The personal allowance is currently frozen at £12,570, above which people start paying income tax, and they move into the higher rate if they earn more than £50,270.

Tory MPs want Mr Hunt to ease the squeeze from the threshold freezes in his spring Budget ahead of a General Election, with Labour expected to focus on the cost-of-living crisis and whether people feel better off.

The poll found that once changes to tax and benefits, salary, inflation, bills, interest rates and the cost-of-living in general are all taken into account, 40 per cent of adults expect to be worse off next year than now, 42 per cent about the same, and just 15 per cent better off.

Half think Britain’s general economic conditions will get worse over the next 12 months, and just 22 per cent that they will improve, giving a net score of minus 28, better than the minus 36 in November when 55 per cent expected things to deteriorate and 19 per cent to pick up.

On other issues, the survey showed the Government getting exactly the same record low net scores as of last July on:

* Managing the economy with 68 per cent saying it was doing a bad job, 23 per cent good, net figure of -45.

* Handling taxation and public expenditure with 71 per cent stating bad job, 19 per cent good job, net score -52.

* Dealing with crime, with 66 per cent bad job, 19 per cent good job, net -47.

Seventy-seven per cent said the Government was doing badly on dealing with the cost-of-living, 18 per cent good, net of minus 59, also a record low, almost the same as -58 in July last year.

Keiran Pedley, Ipsos Director of Politics, said: “With the current focus on immigration and the Government’s Rwanda bill it is worth remembering that other issues are important to the public too.

“It will concern the Conservatives that large majorities think Rishi Sunak’s government has done a bad job managing the economy, improving the NHS and dealing with the cost of living.”

But he also stressed that the poll’s findings suggested there is “still work to do for Keir Starmer’s Labour to seal the deal with voters” ahead of the next General Election.

The survey also found eight out of ten believe the Government is doing a bad job on improving the NHS, and six out of ten on improving the education system, both figures slightly improved from previous record lows.

On levelling-up the Government has fallen to its worst level with 68 per cent saying it is performing poorly and just 13 per cent doing well.

Labour is expected to do a better job than the Tories, rather than a worse job, on the NHS by 43 per cent to 15 per cent, cost of living 36/20, levelling up 38/15, education 37/15, relations with EU 33/20, and climate change 28/16, but there is not much difference on managing the economy 29/28, tax and spend 31/28 and crime 25/19.

* Ipsos UK interviewed 1,008 adults in Britain by phone between December 1 and 7. Data are weighted. More information at