The YouGov/Robin Hood Media survey suggests that just 45% of voters think the financial sector can afford a financial transactions tax (with a rate 0.5% on the transactions of shares, bonds and derivatives), down from the 59% who said the same in the week before June’s general election.
The proportion of those saying that the financial sector cannot afford to pay this stands at 16%, down from the 7% who said the same back in June. Almost one in four respondents (39%) said they did not know, up from the 34% who gave the same response ahead of the general election.
The poll also asked voters whether they thought that the financial sector had contributed enough to the wider economy in the last decade. 15% said they thought it had contributed enough while a striking 54% said it had not. The most recent figures suggest no change from June’s question although it is worth noting that the previous poll asked about the last few years rather than the last ten.
Unsurprisingly, supporters of left-leaning parties were found to be more likely to think that the sector can afford to pay more (54% of Labour voters, 56% of Liberal Democrats and 62% of SNP voters) while Conservatives voters and UKIP backers were less likely to support the statement (43% and 31% respectively).
Remainers were also more likely to think that the sector can afford to pay such a tax than leavers (55% for remainers, 42% for leavers).
Excluding “don’t knows”, the financial transactions tax has majority support, however, the scale of fall in those saying they think that the finance sector can afford to pay a transactions tax is statistically significant, suggesting that there has been a big shift in public mood.
Across the country, ever since the general election it has felt as if the deck is being stacked in Jeremy Corbyn’s favour, and yet this poll suggests that things are moving the other way. The month before this year’s snap election, Labour came out in favour of such a tax, as reported by the Independent, saying that it could bring in over £5bn of extra revenue for the government.
It still seems that most people think that the finance sector can afford to pay it, but the fourteen-point drop goes against the current narrative that Labour is gaining ground.