Election '97: Finance chiefs see tax rises on horizon

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More than half of the finance chiefs at UK companies believe the next government should raise taxes to keep its manifesto promises, according to a survey published yesterday.

Whoever gets into power, 58 per cent are resigned to the fact that the next government will almost certainly increase tax rates. However, just over a third of the 200 finance chiefs polled by Accountancy Age magazine and Reed Accountancy Personnel opposed any rises in income tax.

They were asked if they thought the incoming government would or should put taxes up to pay for improvements to the health service, education and law and order. The majority, 55 per cent, agreed that tax rises were worth it to pay for genuine improvements.

Even those opposed to any rises accept they are probably inevitable. Out of the 37 per cent who do not want a greater slice of their salaries going to the taxman, 80 per cent see it happening anyway. Only 2 per cent of those questioned thought tax rises were more likely under a Labour government than a Conservative administration.