The headline findings from the YouGov survey commissioned by the TaxPayers' Alliance are as follows:
- People underestimate the real rate of tax on their income. 52 per cent of the public think that, if they earned £25,000 a year and their employer gave them a pay rise and spent £100 doing so, they would get to keep £70 or more. In fact, they would only get to keep around £60, with just 30 per cent of the public thinking that they would keep £60 or less.
- Fewer than one in seven people realise the Government plans to increase the debt, not reduce it. Three times as many people think that the Government's plans involve decreasing the national debt (46 per cent), as think they involve increasing the national debt (14 per cent). In reality, the Government's plans involve increasing the national debt by around £600 billion.
- Most do not understand the impact of Employers’ National Insurance. 34 per cent of the public understand that a hike in Employers' National Insurance mostly results in lower pay for workers. But 31 per cent thought that it would mean consumers paid lower prices and 10 per cent thought it would result in companies making lower profits
- Most people have no idea how much money the Government is spending on their behalf. 77 per cent answered "don't know" when asked how much it spends per household. The figure is in fact around £25,000, but only 5 per cent of respondents correctly identified it as £20,000 or more.
Despite those misunderstandings - which suggest that the public do not appreciate the full burden of government spending and taxes - most still believe that taxes and spending are too high, and do not expect the government to be able to afford pensioner benefits at their current level by the time they come to retire:
- Only a tiny proportion want higher taxes and higher government spending. More people believe that alien life forms have visited the earth in UFOs (19 per cent) than think the government spends too little and taxes us too little (12 per cent). 16 per cent said the current balance was about right, while 50 per cent thought the government spends too much and taxes too much - 64 per cent of those who expressed an opinion.
- People accept that the current level of retirement benefits is unsustainable.People are more likely to believe that the moon landings were fake and man has never visited the moon (13 per cent) than under 50s are to believe the government will be able to afford to provide the current levels of state pension and pensioner benefits when they retire (12 per cent).