George Osborne's plan to scrap the 50p top rate of income tax is seen as unfair by voters across the political spectrum, according to a ComRes survey for i.
A majority of people (57 per cent) agree that abolishing the 50p rate would show we are not "all in it together" – as the Chancellor has claimed when defending the Government's spending cuts. This view is shared by 67 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters, 64 per cent of Labour supporters and 54 per cent of Conservative supporters. Overall, only 31 per cent disagree with the statement.
The finding will increase fears among some allies of Mr Cameron that Mr Osborne's proposal to cut the tax bills of the 300,000 top earners could alienate millions of others facing a squeeze in their living standards.
However, the poll also suggests the Chancellor might be able to persuade some of the doubters to support scrapping the 50p rate, which applies to earnings above £150,000 a year. Some 56 per cent of people believe its abolition would encourage entrepreneurs to stay in Britain and stimulate growth, while 34 per cent disagree.
There is backing across the spectrum for Lib Dem calls for new taxes to be imposed on wealth such as property, rather than income, to ensure the very rich pay their fair share. Some 71 per cent agree with this proposal – including 66 per cent of Conservative voters – while 24 per cent disagree. The support will encourage Nick Clegg's party to press for wealth taxes such as its proposed "mansion tax" on homes worth more than £2 million.
According to ComRes, some 63 per cent believe tax cuts for businesses should be given more priority than for individuals to boost growth, while 27 per cent disagree. Tory voters agree overwhelmingly (74 per cent) but this view is also endorsed by a majority of those who support the Lib Dems (68 per cent) and Labour (64 per cent).
Labour's lead over the Tories has dropped from two points to one since the last ComRes survey for i's sister paper The Independent on Sunday, published on 21 August. The current figures are Labour 38 per cent (down two points), Tories 37 per cent (down one point), Lib Dems 11 per cent (no change) and other parties 14 per cent (up three points).
There will be some disappointment in Labour circles that the party's lead over the Tories has been eroded. These figures would give Labour a majority of just eight seats at the next general election, with the Lib Dems reduced to just 15 seats. Only 47 per cent of people who voted Lib Dem at last year's election would support them now.
Full tables at www.comres.co.uk