Below are just some examples of how NatCen numbers can shed light on who will be affected by some of today's Budget announcements and how they are likely to be received by the public. As we digest the Budget over the next few days we will add to the blog.
The budget included an announcement that tax on bingo halls will be halved from 20% to 10%, giving businesses like the Rank Group who operate Mecca Bingo good reason to shout 'full house!', but who among the public will this affect?
In a bid to help the "makers, doers and savers" of Britain, it was announced that investors will soon be able to put up to £15,000 into the new revamped ISAs, a large increase on the current £5,760 limit on cash ISAs. It has been said to benefit more than six million savers, but who are these savers? We've looked at the financial circumstances of current ISA holders and savers using the Family Resources Survey data:
Pitched as a Budget for industry, Budget 2014 included an increase in lending available for exporters and cuts in the main rate of corporation tax.
But does the public think it is the Government’s responsible to support industry? The answer is an emphatic, YES. We ask people whether the “government should be responsible for providing industry with the help it needs to grow” and 96% agree that it should and this has remained at a pretty consistent level since we first asked the question in 1985.
Is it any wonder that the “Help to Buy” scheme is being extended to March 2020 with house prices rising again and many people struggling to get on the housing ladder? Particularly when it's clear that most of us (86%) would prefer to own than rent.
In fact, the English Housing Survey shows that many more people own their own homes than in the past. In 1980, just over half of people (56%) were “owner occupiers” compared with two thirds of people (65%) in 2012. Although this is down from a peak of just over 70% during the housing boom in the early noughties
We knew this was going to happen of course, but the lowest tax threshold will go up in April from £9,440 to £10,000 and up to £10,500 next year. One impact of this policy that has been widely discussed is more people being included in the higher 40% tax threshold (The IFS reckons there an 1.1 million more higher-rate payers than prior to the Coalition taking office). So does the public want lower taxes, or is it more important to them to protect public spending?
Major reform of tax on pensions including a reduction in the amount of tax paid by people taking their pension pot early from 55% to 20%. Who will this affect? Well, unsurprisingly the Family Resources Survey shows that the more you earn, the more likely you are to contribute to a pension.
One of the big new policies in the Budget, although announced in advance, was new help for working couples on childcare. The policy will no doubt be popular among working parents, but who do we think should be paying for the costs of childcare? In British Social Attitudes we ask “who should cover the costs of childcare for children under school age” and a majority (53%) say that it is the family who should pay. A third (30%) say Government should cover the costs.
Getting rid of the “green crap”
Taxes aimed at encouraging environmentally friendly behaviour, reportedly described by the Prime Minister as the “green crap” were a target for George Osborne when announcing a cap on the Carbon Price Support rate - a tax on companies for high use of fossil fuels.
However, a majority of the British public feel strongly that the Government should impose strict rules on industry to reduce damage done to the environment – although this is at a lower level than in the past – and a big majority believe in man-made climate change.
For a long time, health and education have been the public’s priority areas for extra spending and the Budget shows them as the second and third highest areas for Government spending in 2014/15, behind only “social protection”, or the welfare budget.
The Budget includes plans to drop the tax on a pint later this month and end the duty escalator on wine, pleasing drinkers and license holder. However, the Health Survey for England shows that more and more of us are choosing to go teetotal.
The Chancellor announced the level of the permanent cap on welfare at £119bn in 2015/16. We know from British Social Attitudes that there is little appetite for an increase in spending on welfare, so a cap may well be welcomed by the public.