Exclusive:Voters trust Scottish Labour most on tax, new poll reveals

However, the SNP was close behind, with ‘little difference’ between the two parties

Voters in Scotland trust Labour more than any other political party to have the best policies around taxation, a new poll for The Scotsman has found.

The poll by Savanta found 24 per cent of respondents trusted Scottish Labour the most to have the best tax policies, closely followed by the SNP on 23 per cent.

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Just 17 per cent trusted the Scottish Conservatives most, while 6 per cent opted for the Liberal Democrats, 5 per cent the Scottish Greens and 2 per cent Alex Salmond’s Alba Party. A further 2 per cent chose ‘other’, while 21 per cent said they did not know.

Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar campaigning on FridayKeir Starmer and Anas Sarwar campaigning on Friday
Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar campaigning on Friday

Tax has been a key issue during the general election campaign, with the Conservatives accusing Labour of seeking to hike taxes for working people. The SNP and Labour have also repeatedly criticised each other’s tax policies.

The poll shows Labour is ahead of the SNP by 32 per cent to 27 per cent when people are asked which party they trust most to improve healthcare in Scotland.

Labour is also ahead on improving education, with 30 per cent saying they trust the party most on this issue, compared with 26 per cent saying the SNP. On protecting jobs for Scottish people, 30 per cent said they trusted Labour most, with 28 per cent choosing the SNP.

However, more people said they trusted the SNP most when it comes to improving living standards for Scottish people (29 per cent, compared to 28 per cent for Labour). On improving Scotland’s economy, the two parties were tied at 28 per cent.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesScottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Chris Hopkins, political research director at Savanta, said: "Taxation has been a key issue this election campaign, and Scottish Labour holds a narrow lead over the SNP on this and all things to do with the economy. This is an improvement on even a year ago, where Labour were five points behind the SNP on who was most trusted on the economy.

"Across many policy areas, there really is little difference between Scottish voter's perceptions of Labour and the SNP. The main gap in voter's minds being, of course, they see Labour as much better able protect the union and the SNP stronger campaigners for independence."

Savanta interviewed 1,069 Scottish adults aged 16 and over online between June 14-18. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of Scottish adults by age, gender, region and past voting behaviour.

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According to the poll, Labour would secure 38 per cent of the vote if a general election was held tomorrow, which is an increase of one point since the last Savanta poll in Scotland at the end of May.

The SNP is on 33 per cent, which is unchanged. The Conservatives are on 15 per cent, which is a fall of two points, the Liberal Democrats are on 7 per cent (unchanged) and ‘other’ is on 7 per cent (+2).

Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said this would see the SNP return 17 MPs, while Labour would increase its number of seats from two to 29. The Conservatives would win six seats and the Liberal Democrats five.

Sir John previously told The Scotsman: “Much of the SNP’s campaign efforts have involved suggesting that a UK Labour government would fail to provide the resources needed to finance Scotland’s public services, including not least the health service north of the Border. However, this line of attack seems to have made little impression.”

He said John Swinney, who took over as SNP leader last month, has so far “had little success in restoring the SNP’s fortunes”.

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader, has repeatedly attacked Labour over tax. He previously claimed Sir Keir Starmer’s party would raise taxes by £2,000 per working household. The UK statistics watchdog criticised how this figure was presented, and Sir Keir accused his rival of lying about Labour’s plans. Mr Sunak said Labour were “rattled that we’ve exposed their plans to raise tax on people”.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Labour’s Anas Sarwar has criticised income tax rises under the SNP, while Mr Swinney has said Labour would cut public spending. “Voting Labour in Scotland will get you spending cuts, and that would be a disastrous outcome from the election,” the First Minister said.



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