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Public Opinion: Granny tax and high earners cut unfair!

A new poll has found that next year’s rate freeze for age related allowances and the high rate tax payer cut as being most unfair.


Over the last week, media coverage of the 2012 budget has revealed two major sticking points among commentators and the public. Firstly, George Osborne’s plan to knock five pence off the 50p tax for high-earners and secondly the plan to change age-related personal allowances (ASAs), a move which the media has called a ‘Granny tax’.

The YouGov post-budget poll of the public found some measures like the increase in personal tax allowance are predictably well-liked but they also discovered that Government measures like cutting the 50p tax rate and the so-called ‘Granny tax’ have proved vastly unpopular (only 18% support this). Their poll on fairness came out at just 32%, which compares unfavourably to the 48% of people agreeing the budget was fair last year.

There has been much discussion in the news on whether the change in ASAs is fair. After an initial backlash, many experts have written in support of the move. BBC Business Editor Robert Peston argued in his blog that although it may not be fairer, it’s easier to tax pensioners than higher earners who find ways to avoid tax.

Matthew Vincent of the Financial Times claims that today’s pensioners are ‘arguably the most financially blessed generation in history’ and that the promised changes in state pension will actually increase their overall income.