As politicians at Westminster, including senior ministers sitting around the cabinet table, continue to debate the merits of the one percent cap on public sector pay, BMG’s latest poll for the Independent finds that a majority of Brits would be prepared to pay more in tax to give a pay rise to emergency workers.

The poll, conducted between 11 and 14 July, asked respondents whether they would be willing to pay more in tax in order to fund an above one percent pay rise for those working in so-called ‘blue-lights’ public sector occupations, such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics and nurses.  A majority (56%) supported the policy proposal, with just over a quarter (28%) opposing the measure. 16% answered don’t know.

Interestingly, older voters are more likely support the measure than those in younger age groups. 66% of over 55s supported the proposal, compared to 51% of those aged between 18 and 34.  Nevertheless, the policy is still supported by a majority in all age groups, social classes and income brackets.

Notably, the policy also receives high levels of support from voters across the political spectrum. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labour voters are the most in favour, with 62% backing the measure. However, close to two in three Conservative voters (58%) also said they would be prepared to pay more in taxation to fund the increase.

However, as is often the case when testing hypothetical policy proposals, results vary depending on how the question is asked. When respondents were asked whether they support scrapping the pay cap in principle – excluding reference to raising taxes – an even larger majority (69%) were supportive, with only 16% against.

Results also vary depending on the ‘type’ of public sector workers said to benefit. Arguably, frontline emergency staff could represent something of a ‘special case’ – it is notable that there is significantly less support for raising taxes in order to lift the public-sector freeze when the question refers “all public-sector workers”. On this question, the public is almost evenly split, with 42% in favour and 41% against.

Readers can interrogate the data themselves by toggling with the menu below.

An article based on these polling results, released by the Independent, can be found here.

Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.

For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.


0121 333 6006

Robert Struthers – Graduate Research Executive


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