Over half of Britons say Tories are largely responsible for cost of living crisis, polling shows

As the government is accused of shielding the super-rich, 51 percent of people believe the Conservative government is largely to blame for the cost of living crisis.

Cost of living

The poll was conducted by Find Out Now for Channel 4 News and surveyed more than 2,000 people from across the UK. Over half of respondents said the government is to blame for soaring living costs. 37 percent believe international issues, such as the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic, are responsible.

The same polling shows that following the chancellor’s autumn statement last week, 29 percent of voters say they now have faith in Labour to run the economy. This compares to just 19 percent who say they trust the Tories on economic matters.

Government accused of shielding super-rich

The polling comes after Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have been accused of protecting the super-rich from paying their fair share of tax by refusing to abolish the controversial non-dom loophole, which allows wealthy overseas people in Britain registered as having non-domicile status to avoid paying tax on their offshore income.

On November 18, Hunt said ending the arrangement would be the “wrong thing” to do. He also disputed claims that abolishing the non-dom status loophole could raise £3bn every year. The chancellor argued that he would “rather they stayed here and spent their money here” than move abroad.

Keir Starmer said the government is doing “nothing about non-dom status,” adding the “super-rich are not paying their taxes in this country.” The Labour leader also accused the government of having “gone after working people” with tax hikes.

A report published in September found that mega-rich people in Britain registered as having non-domicile status are legally avoiding paying over £3.2bn of tax on at least £10.9bn of offshore income a year.

Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Warwick found that 26,000 people which HMRC had granted non-dom tax status collect an average £420,000 a year in unreported overseas capital gains and income.

Arun Advani, associate professor at Warwick’s economics department and Cage research centre, said: “Historically, arguments against abolition of the non-dom regime rested on uncertainty about whether it would raise any money. It’s now plain to see that it does, so supporters of the status quo need to find a new case for its defence.”

Andy Summers, associate professor at LSE Law School, said: “Non-doms receive ten times as much investment income offshore as they report in the UK. By rewarding non-doms for keeping their investments abroad, the current tax rules harm our economy as well as being unfair on ordinary taxpayers who must pay tax on their worldwide income.”

Controversy involving non-dom was ignited earlier this year when is was revealed that Akshata Murty, the wife of Rishi Sunak, who was chancellor at the time, was using the status to avoid paying an estimated £4.5m in tax on dividends she collected from her father’s IT firm.

Other famous ‘non-doms’ include Roman Abramovich, oligarch and former owner of Chelsea football club, media baron Viscount Rothermere and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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