Working class voters turning on the Tories over tax and the cost of living

For immediate release


A poll for the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) in today’s Sunday Telegraph reveals how a growing cost of living crisis, including rising levels of tax, is set to put serious pressure on the Conservatives. 

Voters now do not consider the Tories to be a low tax party. Asked whether they trust the Conservatives or Labour more on “keeping taxes low for people like you”, 34 per cent of people trust Labour more, compared to 31 per cent who chose the Conservatives. Working class voters chose Labour by 35 per cent, compared to only 22 per cent for the Tories. Asked which party prioritises lower taxes, 25 per cent of working class voters chose Labour, while only 15 per cent chose the Conservatives.

The poll – conducted by policy research specialists Public First – also shows working class taxpayers are particularly worried about their living standards. While 41 per cent of the wealthies professional voters (AB voters) name the cost of living as their top issue, that compares to 56 per cent of the least well off voters (DE voters). 

DE voters include the working class voters, including manual workers and state pensioners, who are likely to decide the outcome of the next general election. These voters are strongly opposed to the idea of further tax rises. Asked whether taxes should rise to pay off Covid debt, AB voters narrowly said no (by 45 per cent to 42 per cent), while DE voters said no by almost 3 to 1 (59 per cent to 20 per cent).

They were especially sceptical about the rise in National Insurance Contributions to pay for health and social care. Asked whether the rise would improve services, almost 4 in 10 DE voters said this was unlikely, while a similar percentage of AB voters said this was likely. DE voters also said the rise was unfair by 37 per cent to 27 per cent, while AB voters said it was fair by 41 per cent to 35 per cent.

The poll findings, released as the Conservative conference begins in Manchester, will be put to chancellor Rishi Sunak when he is interviewed by TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive John O’Connell at an event on Tuesday. 


John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“Taxpayers are facing the highest burden in 70 years, and are crying out for politicians to relieve the pressures whittling away the money in their wallets. 

“Hard-working households and struggling firms know that things are only likely to get worse over coming months.  

"The Budget in October is an opportunity for the chancellor to prove the Tories still care about cutting the cost of living for ordinary taxpayers."


TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Media contact:

Danielle Boxall
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Notes to editors:

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. The polling was conducted for the TaxPayers' Alliance by Public First Ltd. Total sample size was 2,036 with fieldwork between 16 - 22 September 2021. The survey was carried out online. Link to polling data:

  4. Information about Tuesday's In Conversation event with chancellor Rishi Sunak can be found here.
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