“As with cake, so with rail fares”
The question was (page 7):
If you had to choose, which one of the following would you prefer – an increase in rail fares of 6.2%, or an increase in the basic rate of tax from 20p to 21p?
On which respondents divided 39% for higher fares, 32% for higher income tax and 29% didn’t know.
Unfortunately, as my correspondents pointed out, the revenue from a rail fare increase of 6.2% is about £315m (that of a 2-point rise is £105m according the Autumn Statement 2011, page 46, costing the subsidy required to cut from RPI+3 to RPI+1), while that raised by a 1p increase in the basic rate of income tax is £3.9bn (according to HMRC estimates).
So YouGov’s question asked if people preferred a rise in fares or a rise in income tax more than 10 times greater than that needed.
Oh well, I doubt if most people who answered the question were aware of the maths behind it. I think most would have answered it as if it had asked whether they preferred a fare rise or an equivalent rise in income tax. It the principle of “who pays for it?” that I think is interesting.Tagged in: pedantry, tax and spend
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