Sunday Polls

Today’s results for the Sunday Times are up online here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. On the leader good job/bad job ratings Cameron’s net score is minus 12 (up 3), Miliband’s is minus 38 (down 3), Nick Clegg’s is minus 58 (down 7). 75% now think Clegg is doing a bad job as Lib Dem leader, just 17% a good job. It represents Clegg’s worst score since last May.


The regular economic trackers are continuing to get better (or at least, less bad). 44% of people now think the government are managing the economy well, 48% badly – their best score since 2010. The feel good factor (the proportion thinking they’ll be better off in the next year minus those who think they’ll be worse off) has risen above minus 20 for the first time since the election.

YouGov also asked a question about what people’s reaction to Labour having a agenda that was criticised by big business (often pollsters ask questions which become out of date by the time they are published because of changing events. This one was the opposite, we asked it before Ed Balls announced 50p and got laid into by business interest groups, so for once events made it become more topical!). 45% think it would be bad for the economy if Labour won with policies that large businesses were unhappy with, only 18% think it would be good. On people’s own personal finances 29% think it would be bad, 15% good. (Note that it isn’t actually possible to tell if people think the policies that business is unhappy about would be bad for the economy, or just Labour winning per se. In hindsight it would have been good to have a split sample, with half getting a control question that just asked about a Labour government)

In a separate Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, 60% of people supporting re-introducing the 50p top rate, roughly the same sort of proportion who opposed it being abolished in the first place.


Going back to the YouGov poll, on balance people are opposed to Britain accepting refugees from Syria, but not by a vast amount. 47% think we should not accept any, 39% think we should – considering how hostile polls often are on issues of immigration this is closer than one might have thought! Those people who support accepting Syrian refugees are actually rather generous in regard of the number we should accept. While politicians are discussing a few hundred, 40% of those who support accepting Syrian refugees think we should offer to take more than 1000.


Most of the rest of YouGov’s poll dealt with the Royal family and the gradual handover of the Queen’s duties to Charles. The public gradually seem to be coming round to the idea of the Queen cutting down on commitments, and to Charles’s future succession. While a majority of people would still oppose the Queen abdicating, 47% of people would now support her abdicating in the future if she were to become too ill to regularly carry out royal duties or appear in public. 46% of people would still prefer her to remain Queen for life, even if she handed over her duties to other family members. This is the first time YouGov have shown more people in favour than opposed to the Queen abdicating if she becomes too ill to continue work.

There is very widespread support for Charles taking over more of the Queen’s duties, 75% think it is a good idea, only 13% a bad idea. By 42% to 36% people would even support Charles taking over ALL the Queens current roles and responsibilities as Prince Regent, allowing the Queen to effectively retire.

Over the last decade YouGov have asked if people would prefer to see Charles succeed as monarch, or the crown skip a generation to William. Having seen a peak in favour of William after the royal wedding, the public now seen reconciled to Charles as King, with 53% now saying the crown should pass to him, only 31% saying it should skip a generation. It’s the first time this question has shown support for Charles as King rise over 50%. There has not been a similar increase in support for Camilla becoming Queen. Only 17% think she should have the title of Queen, a figure that has remained steady for the last six years.


There is also a new ICM poll on the Scottish referendum, conducted for Scotland on Sunday. Unlike most Scottish referendum polling, normally notable for its stability, this one actually shows a significant change! 37% say they would vote YES, up 5 points from ICM’s last Scottish poll in September, 44% say they would vote NO, down 5 points from September.

John Curtice already has a detailed trawl through the poll here and unlike me he has the luxury of having seen the tables. He picks up one particularly interesting thing: the swing since September is strongly concentrated amongst young people. Amongst over 45s there’s no change, amongst people aged 25-44 support for YES is up 6 points, amongst under 25s it’s up 33 points (!). That rings a few alarm bells, but as ever, one shouldn’t read too much into very small subsamples – it could mean ICM had a weird sample that gave them a weird results, or that they had a weird group of under 25s but the overall sample was fine, or that there genuinely is a big shift towards YES amongst younger voters. We shall see.

296 Responses to “Sunday Polls”

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  1. Cllr Mary di Mauro selected as Lib Dem candidate for W&SE. That’s all the parties with a significant vote share selected now I believe.


    @”That movement happened in late 2010. And it has never unwound. Nor is it going to unwind ”

    Yep-the overiding electoral factor of this Parliament …………… far that is !


    Thanks-if 5% is what you mean by “Full Employment”-then I might be persuaded that Full Employment is feasible in this economy.

  4. @AC

    “Imagine if the BBC/STV had Nicola Stugeon, Margo Macdonald, Patrick Harvey and Iain Grey debating the by-election before and after and the topic was themed on independence?”

    I’m wondering which one would have given Iain a supportive bosey.

  5. Additionally, and altho this is a fringe view, some economists support 100% Marginal Rates above 0.00000001% of a nations’s GDP. For the UK that would be a 100% marginal rate on income above two million four hundred thousand pounds a year. The theoretical goal to reduce excessive CEO pay that burdens the economy with so many ‘gold bricks’, and would also have a side effect of making Football less about the team with the most money winning.

  6. Can you please tell me what happens re Westminster elections if Scotland votes for independence? Do I take it that Scotland would be fully included in the 2015 General Election because independence had not happened by then, and that the Scottish MPs would simply leave when independence happens in 2016? Would there have to be another General Election in 2016?

  7. There are now VI polls for 12 out of 28 EU countries for the forthcoming EP election (May 2014), conducted in January or in late December 2013. These countries are Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and UK – a very important sample, since they elect two thirds of the EP seats (496 out of 751). Despite all particularities, the common traits in these VI polls are the following:
    1. A generalized decrease (in some cases a collapse) of the EPP parties. They show a slight increase (+3) only in Germany, and lose ground in the remaining 10 countries (they are not represented in UK). Their most important losses (double digits) are in Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Romania.
    2. An increase in the scores of the Socialists and Democrats group. They are down only in Greece and Spain, stable in Austria, Finland and Netherlands and up in the remaining 7 countries. Their most important gains come from UK and Romania. But even in Spain they rise from second to first place because the losses of the PP are bigger (-16 for the PP, -10 for the PSOE).
    3. An increase in the votes of the radical left (GUE-NGL), They are represented in 7 countries and show increase in 6 (down only in Portugal). Their most important gains (double digits) come from Greece and Spain.
    3. Mixed results for the ALDE group. They rise in 4 countries (Austria, Finland, France, Netherlands), are stable in Spain and decrease in Bulgaria, Germany and UK (they are not represented in the remaining 5). Yet in terms of seats their losses are more important than their gains because the former occur mainly in two big countries, Germany and UK. And given the fact that they have disappeared also in Italy, their total number of seats will certainly be inferior to the 2009 one.
    4. Disappointing results for the European Greens. They slightly increase only in Austria and Spain and decrease in Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands and the UK (not represented in the remaining 4). Their most important losses come from France and Netherlands. It is almost certain that this time they will have less MEPs than the Radical Left
    5. Bad results for the ECR (Conservatives). They slightly increase in Poland, gaining 1st place from the EPP and slightly decrease in Netherlands, but they have a disappointing result in the UK, where they fall to 3d place from number 1 in 2009. And given the demise of ODS in Czech Republic, they do not seem capable of gaining more than 40 seats (instead of their current 55).
    6. Good results for the new far right Alliance of Eurosceptics. They show increase in all 3 countries where they are actually represented, i.e. France (+17%, from 7 to 24, and 1st place), Austria (+10, from 13 to 23, close third after the two main parties, OEVP and SPOE, tied at 24) and Netherlands (17%, very slight increase, but 1st place because of the EPP collapse from 21 to 11).
    7. The case of EFD (the group of UKIP) is puzzling. They show important increase in UK and Finland, are stable in Netherlands and the demise of LAOS in Greece is counterbalanced by the probable entrance of Independent Greeks with 2 MEPs. Yet they risk losing their group because of the defection of their Italian and Slovak members (LN and SNS respectively) to the new Alliance under Marine LePen. Apart from UK, Finland and Greece, they are certain to obtain MEPs only in Denmark, Lithuania and (possibly) Netherlands, i.e in six countries, whereas for the forming of a EP group it is necessary to have at least 25 MEPs from at least 7 countries. The German Eurosceptic AFD will certainly enter EP (7% in last poll, whereas the threshold has been lowered to 3%), but it is questionable whether they will be willing to ally themselves either with EFD or the new Alliance.


    @”He’s billing it as an emergency measure to help out with tax receipts in an hour of need.”

    Oh sure-but why?.

    It’s Political significance far outweighs its Fiscal significance.

    I’d say 95 to 5.

  9. @Jonboy,

    I can’t tell you for certain but I’d imagine it would happen like this:

    Scotland still votes for MPs in 2015, before independence in 2016.

    From 2016-2020, they still sit at Westminster in an advisory/observational role for the period of transition following independence. The constituencies would be abolished in 2020.

    They’d either be stripped of voting power or party whips during that time, but having been elected by their constituents with the intention of being represented for the life of a parliament, it would be problematic to just expel them.


    I seem to recall FDR tried to impose a 98% income tax on people earning over $5 million. At the time (1935) this would have covered precisely one individual – J.D. Rockefeller.

  10. Colin

    Political significance vs fiscal significance

    Possibly, but that also describes the policies of the Coalition as well in most instances

    The ‘bedroom tax’ being a case in point


    Yes indeed an good showing for the SNP in tomorrows ICM will give the Yes side a momentum boost, however..

    “On the other hand if tomorrow’s poll shows a different trend then the boost for YES will be limited to today’s findings”

    I’m not too sure about that. Remember the SNP were tanked by Labour in the Cowdenbeath by-election and saw Labour with a 16% swing away from the Nats but over the course of the by-election 11’400 people were sampled by a range of methods and 47% were in favour with 28% undecided.

    So even if the poll tomorrow shows a decline in SNP support and Ecks approval ratings I don’t think this will impact anything on the indy vote. People are now seeing SNP Alex Salmond and YES Scotland are two different entities.



    “Imagine if the BBC/STV had Nicola Stugeon, Margo Macdonald, Patrick Harvey and Iain Grey debating the by-election before and after and the topic was themed on independence?”
    I’m wondering which one would have given Iain a supportive bosey

    LOL well my money would be on Margo, she might take pity on him and just smother him.

  13. @JayBlanc
    …..”The theoretical goal to reduce excessive CEO pay that burdens the economy with so many ‘gold bricks’, and would also have a side effect of making Football less about the team with the most money winning.”

    Highly-paid footballers and many others have their wages paid into their own limited companies, which are taxed at a lower rate. I have even seen this in the NHS where some CEOs are paid as contractors.

    If you put corporation tax up to 50% it wouldn’t exactly help the economy. It’s not an easy problem to solve. Like some others, I’m tempted to think the prospective rise to 50% is more of a political gesture than anything else.

  14. Colin – only part right about being more political than fiscal as £3bn more to spend while maintaining the ‘envelope’ is a useful amount.

    That is if £3bn is the number of course.

  15. @John Pilgrim

    I believe that in the 50s, unemployment churn was rather less – 1.5% to 2%.

    5% used to be the sort of NAIRU type figure plucked from the air… but nevertheless would be very welcome now.

  16. virgilio

    Interesting analysis but where do the likes of the SNP, Plaid and other European nationalists fit in?

  17. @Mrnameless

    “From 2016-2020, they still sit at Westminster in an advisory/observational role for the period of transition following independence. The constituencies would be abolished in 2020.

    They’d either be stripped of voting power or party whips during that time, but having been elected by their constituents with the intention of being represented for the life of a parliament, it would be problematic to just expel them.”

    I’d be more inclined to believe that as much or as little time would be spent on Scottish matters in the interim (depending on the meddlesome attitude of a government), other than handing over powers. Scots MPs voting on non-Scots issues, and non-Scots MPs being expected not to interfere in Scots issues, and so on.

    If it is a ‘Yes’ vote, no party wants to be in government for 2015-2020 with that lot going on. Effective majorities for Labour might be curtailed, while others might be strengthened (e.g. if the existing Scots MPs did not vote, there would be a Con OM).

    Who decides where supposed non-Scots issues impact on Scots ones? Any amount of changes might have a knock-on effect.

    A vat of worms, rather than a can.

  18. If you want full employment then I can only see this happening under communism but would be mass underemployment.

    No capitalist economy in the world will ever see full employment. Shetland islands have always had low unemployment of around 3% and that’s about as good as it gets.

    There will always be people dropping out of jobs over a number of issues, people being fired etc so any talk of full employment is folly.

  19. @ Jonboy
    What happens re Westminster elections if Scotland votes for independence?”
    A welcome diversion from 50% tax rate.

    It looks complicated! If YES then:
    (1) Westminster Scottish MPs still elected in May 2015, as cotalnd was still part of UK, but they would withdraw if Scotland becomes independent by March 2016 — the SNP goal. [This date might be delayed, but if so it would post-date the 2016 Scottish elections.] If Lab were elected in 2015 this might mean the loss of their majority?
    (2) But the Scottish Westminster 2015 voting pattern would be v. different if YES rather than NO? & less favourable to all Unionist parties, esp. Lib & Lab.?
    (3) The Scottish MPs would surely not claim full voting rights over non-Scottish matters, given their impending departure. Also the non-Scottish MPs could combine to vote to restrict such rights – I think!
    (4) The 2015 election would look to be a pretty fraught one & presumably some v complex negotiations would transpire after YES

  20. “Scotland still part of …”

  21. Statgeek et al

    Without a codified constitution, Westminster is free to decide how to handle things.

    The only proviso that I know of is that, prior to the new Scottish state being created, Westminster couldn’t strip UK citizens living in Scotland of representation in the UK Parliament – unless, of course, they had already decided to abandon the Convention of Human Rights.

  22. SYZGY
    “5% used to be the sort of NAIRU type figure plucked from the air… but nevertheless would be very welcome now.”

    I agree. The figure could also be arrived at more precisely with the right data, and would provide a basis of differential support – from interim social security to measures, including trainig, for entry or reentry to the labour force, to meet the very varied nature of unemployment; and, echoing Kenneth Clarke’s regional Training and Entreprise Centres, to match skills and labour supply with industrial development.

  23. @JONBOY

    Good question. Don’t think anyone’s sorted that out yet. If they’ve been elected who will have the right to remove them if and when Scotland leaves? What if they refused to go? What if it affected the government’s majority? What about hereditary Scottish peers in the HoLs? Possibly something Bagehot didn’t envisage, although perhaps there’s a precedent from when the Irish Free State was formed.

  24. Chris Lane,
    Sorry for the late response only just came back on line.Cooking dinner etc.My
    Son did his university work experience at Hereford Cathedral.Had a great time
    They were so good with him.But whilst there we saw the great work they ,are
    Doing with food banks.Will it translate into votes? Not so sure,many people
    Visit and worship in Cathedrals.Or just in churches,

  25. “Minister defends ‘large’ salaries paid to HS2 bosses” The new director will be paid 7x as much as his predecessor etc.

    This is presumably what is meant by a “gravy train”.

  26. Robbie/statgeek – fwiw, here’s what happened when Ireland left the UK.

    Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act 1922, passed in March 1922, said that no further writs would be issued for the election of MPs from southern Irish constituencies. The existing southern Irish MPs remained (obviously the vast majority of then did not attend the Commons anyway – only a handful of non-Sinn Fein ones, but in theory they were still Members of the UK Parliament).

    In October 1922 the Commons was dissolved for a general election after the Carlton Club meeting, so southern Ireland ceased to be represented in the UK House of Commons. The general election was in mid-November, and did not extend to southern Ireland.

    The Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922 actually giving independence to the Free State received royal assent on the 5th December 1922, and the Irish Free State came into existence on the 6th December 1922.

    Hence for the last month or so that Southern Ireland was de jure part of the UK it wasn’t represented in the Commons, but as far as I can tell that just so happened to be how the dates worked out. If the coalition between the Liberals and Conservatives had continued a bit longer the existing southern Irish MPs would presumably still have been sitting in the Commons even after the Free State ceased to be part of the UK. Perhaps they’d have been expelled at that point, or the handful who came in the first place would have just stopped turning up. Who knows.

  27. @ AC

    I agree – there cannot be a capitalist economy without a reserve army of potential workers.

    Interestingly, once the labour market was liberated in Eastern Europe it became clear that there was no under employment (another myth like the Latter Curve). Either whole units or ancillary units were closed down – this was the source of unemployment. Production lines operated with the same number of people.

    What I can agree is the need of a certain level of temporary unemployment (due to economic changes) thus the question is how to retain these people’s human dignity and, at the same time, ensuring that they actually make their transition.

  28. Thanks to all for the answers re Scottish MPs after a Yes vote.

    SNP and PC (3 MEPs at 2009 EE) are part of the European Free Alliance, which includes progressive regionalist and nationalist parties across the EU, such as the Catalonian Republican Left (ERC) and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) from Spain, the Party of the Corsican Nation (France) and the NVA from Flanders. The total number of the EFA MEPs at last EE was 7, so they could not form a group and joined the European Greens in the common group Greens-EFA. In 2014 they are poised to increase significantly in Catalonia and Flanders (almost certainly first place in the latter, probably first or, in worst case, close second in the former), but their Green partners seem to lose steam almost everywhere (except minor gains in Austria and Finland), so the whole G-EFA group is expected to lose 4th place to the benefit of the Radical Left (EUL-NGL). The battle for 5th place will be tough between G-EFA, ECR (Conservatives), EFD (if they succeed in keeping their group) and the new far-right Eurosceptic Alliance.


    @”The ‘bedroom tax’ being a case in point”

    In a sense I agree with you.

  31. JIM JAM

    @”That is if £3bn is the number of course.”

    Of course !

    I doubt we will ever find out.

  32. @Allan Christie

    To add something to what virgilio posted.

    Plaid Cymru has always been with the European Free Alliance… broadly left of centre regional parties which advocate statehood or devolution… though New Flemish Alliance is a conservative party, and there are six other parties (without MEPs) in the alliance from across the right-wing spectrum. Mebyon Kernow (on the left) also has no MEPs but is in there alongside PC.

    SNP joined in 1989, before that they had been in the centre-right (Gaullist) European Democratic Alliance.

    The EFA is in alliance with Green parties:
    Greens–European Free Alliance (EG-EFA), aka Greens/EFA, Verts/ALE.

  33. LAZLO
    ” once the labour market was liberated in Eastern Europe it became clear that there was no under employment………. Either whole units or ancillary units were closed down – this was the source of unemployment.”
    You make a very interesting (and obviously well informed) point about the ending of the Soviet controlled labour market in Eastern Euope. It may be necessary to draw a distinction in answering ACs point about communist systems, between areas or whole countries where collectives or state enteprises were established, and ran housing, transport and social services alongside primary or secondary industries. When the latter were closed down,, most of the latter services sectors also collapsed, so unemployment and the collapse of basic services went along with them. As a result, as one indicator of the impact on these populations, the life expectancy of males in Russia dropped from 65 to 58 years – I think in a decade from 1989 to 1999 (but I would need to check my sources.)

  34. @AW

    Thanks very much. Makes sense.

    “If the coalition between the Liberals and Conservatives had continued a bit longer the existing southern Irish MPs would presumably still have been sitting in the Commons even after the Free State ceased to be part of the UK.”

    Am I seeing some trend there? o-:

  35. @Neil A

    “But surely, arguments about increasing tax revenue through higher rates also make their own assumptions based on the Laffer Curve? It’s not just the right who rely on it, in effect.”

    Not really – most of the assumptions rest on the notion that the higher the rate of tax the more revenue. Historically this would seem to be the case.

    The intent with the Laffer Curve was to show what Laffer took to be the counter-intuitive logic that you could in fact raise more revenue by lowering the tax rate. That was the point of drawing the curve, to illustrate the logic of the argument.

    As it turns out whenever the tax rate is lowered revenue decreases.

    “Although I agree with you that we probably don’t (and never will have) the statistical and fiscal tools to accurately measure the pivot point, in philosophical terms it must exist”

    In philosophical terms anything can exist :P

    That’s my beef with the Laffer Curve is its not adding anything analytically useful to the debate – it’s a rhetorical tool not an economic one.

    “After all, Balls isn’t saying a new Labour government would set the higher rate at 80%. Unless he’s giving up much-needed revenue to be “fair” to rich people, I’d argue that this is because he believes the “Laffer Pivot” is somewhere around 50%”

    Balls might believe it – given that he studied economics at University its almost certain that he does given their stringent powers of indoctrination – but even if he didn’t, there would still be strong political reasons why he couldn’t raise it. Look, for example, at the furor saying he’s going to do a 5% temporary increase has produced: can you imagine what it would look like if he said he was going to increase it to even 60%?

    @Jay Blanc

    “If such a 100% tax bracket existed, then it’d hardly be logical for any company to offer pay levels above it.”

    Actually, using similar logic to the Laffer Curve you could argue that 100% rates would be more productive for the whole economy.

    After all if executives can’t be paid above a certain amount, then that money would have to be reinvested in the company, which would see pay rises for all staff and the hiring of more people, which would make them more productive, which would increase company revenue, which would given them greater market share, which would allow for more investment… ;)

  36. @PETE B

    I don’t know whether you’re right about footballers but I’ve certainly seen that practice in contracting, interim management et al. Indeed, I have such a company myself: this is not through choice but because my employer (as an interim manager) insisted upon it so I could not claim to be an employee and eligible for employment protection etc.

    The issue is not really about corporation tax – the tax advantage is that ’employees’ don’t pay themselves a salary – or only a minimal one – but dividends instead, thus avoiding National Insurance. There is also an opportunity for various costs to be put through the company which ‘normal’ people pay out of taxed income (EG travel to work, the odd meal out, that Ipad you fancy etc). Equally significant is timing differences: for a start you don’t pay any tax for some time, but you can also choose which tax year you pay yourself in (particularly handy when you have 40% max, followed by one year at 50% max followed by 45% max – people not falling over themselves to take pay in the 50% year. This could provide a handy boost to tax receipts in the year before it goes up again and a handy boost to people trying to prove the Laffer Curve!)

    Even if HMRC had anybody left to enforce income tax payment, rules such as this many others add up to discrimination against regular employees.

  37. @ BILLY BOB
    Thanks for the additional information, it is very correct. Furthermore, there are regionalist (and even separatist) parties that are not part of the EFA, but belong to other political groups. Some examples: The PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) is member of the European Democratic Party which in EP collaborates with ALDE. The CiU (Convergence and Union) in Catalonia is composed by CDC (member of ALDE) and UDC (member of EPP). Many conservative regionalist and ethnic minority parties are also members of EPP, such as UDMR in Romania (Hungarian minority), MDK in Slovakia (ditto), SVP in Italy (South Tyrol, German. speaking minority). Also in Italy, the infamous Northern League was (formally still is) member of EFD (together with UKIP), but in 2014 it will be part of the new far-right Alliance under Marine LePen, as will also be the Flemish far-right separatist VB (currently unaffiliated). Finally, Northern Irish Sinn Fein is member of the EUL-NGL group (radical left), whereas the SDLP is member of the PES/S&D. UUP sits with ECR, DUP is unaffiliated.

  38. 100 years ago we kicked off Part One of the Great European Civil War.

    How depressing to see that so many people, across Europe, out of ignorance or stupidity (for there can be no other reason) are once again prepared to vote for Far-Right parties.

    Was it Chamberlain who said “Peace in our time”?

    Well it is David in France who now says “War in our time”!

  39. Something completely different (but for reasons I’ve forgotten it came up on an earlier discussion): at the moment we’re generating 15.4% of our electricity with wind power:

  40. It’s odd that the aftermath of a Scottish ‘yes’ vote has received so little attention; presumably because the commentariat have been able to loftily dismiss the possibility. If the ICM poll marks the start of a trend towards ‘yes’ that will change.

    Here’s another question. What will happen to political parties in post-yes Scotland? Presumably Con, Lab and LD north of the border will have to reconstitute themselves as independent Scottish parties. Any discussion of this will be taboo at the moment, as smacking of defeatism, but that dam may crack if independence becomes a real possibility.

  41. ” the commentariat have been able to loftily dismiss the possibility. ”

    Can we have some examples so that I can better understand who the “commenteriat” are [not you presumably….] see if I agree they actually have dismissed the possibility and, finally, just how loftily they did so?


  42. @AU

    As I said, a small fringe of economists do support a 100% marginal tax rate up at the very highest of incomes.

    The theories are compelling, particularly the idea of it freeing up capital currently being re-directed to ‘gold brick’ CEOs.

    But, and this is a capital letter But, the theory for this has as much practical support as the Laffer curve.

  43. Harold Wilson once said that he didn’t believe that anyone needed to earn more than £8,000 pa. Not sure what that would equate to now, though.

  44. John Kay

    “What will happen to political parties in post-yes Scotland? ”

    We’ll have some. There will still be professional politicians who will need organisations to get them elected.

    There will also be some folk who are happy to declare their absolute loyalty to a particular group of careerists.

    Then, there will be lots of the rest of us who will look at what they say and do about for what’s best for Scotland, and vote accordingly for the ones whose vision seems best.

  45. How many large companies would be based in Britain if there was a marginal tax rate of 100%? They’d trade here, sure, but they’d be headquartered somewhere else.

    “Ordinary” taxpayers would have the great privilege of paying extra to make up the shortfall…

  46. @Guy Monde
    Thanks for that. I’m aware of the things you said, because I have run my own small limited company in the past, and have also been a contractor.
    The points you make about legitimate ways to avoid tax reinforce my thesis. It is very difficult to make high rates of tax affect many people without radically reforming our whole tax system. One way would be to raise tax on dividends and corporation tax to the same as top-rate income tax, but this would badly damage the economy. As I said, not an easy problem to solve, and raising the rate of higher rate income tax does just smack of political posturing. .

  47. @Neil A

    There is no requirement for a CEO to live or be paid where a corporation is based. After all, those Irish and Luxembourg based tax avoidance shells would be really inconvenient otherwise.

  48. ICM poll results on Euro elections

    SNP surge to 43% support (gaining the LDs current seat) – + 14% since 2009.

    Lab 24% (up 3% since 2009)

    Con 14% (down 3%)

    LDs – 6% (down 6%)

    UKIP 7%

    Curtice – “At present, it seems Scotland would vote to stay in the European Union, by 46 per cent to 33 per cent, whereas the rest of the UK would want to leave – by 37 per cent to 46 per cent. At the same time, support for maintaining the right of EU citizens to live and work in any part of Europe is higher than elsewhere in Britain.”

  49. Even if revenue were zero at 100% tax, this doesn’t mean that dropping from say a 90% rate to 80% rate will necessarily reduce revenue.

    I mean, even at 90% tax there’s a hell of an incentive to earn, if you want to put food on the table. Raise the tax to 95% and there’s even more incentive if you still want to eat.

    Equally, quite a lot of people like to retire early once they’ve made enough.

    Thus putting tax up can give more of an incentive to work if you still want to eat, pay the bills and have some left over for the occasional Diplomatico.

    Of course, there is also an incentive to avoid tax for those who actually aren’t really so enamoured with the incentive to work after all…

  50. Or rather “…Even if revenue were zero at 100% tax, this doesn’t mean that dropping from say a 90% rate to 80% rate will necessarily INCREASE revenue….”

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