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Three in five Brits reject higher taxes to reach Net Zero

  • 70% of Brits worried about energy costs this Christmas, new ComRes poll reveals.
  • Over 60% of Brits say they won’t benefit from the government’s ‘green’ subsidies in poll commissioned by campaign group Net Zero Watch.
  • Three in five UK adults aren’t willing to pay higher taxes on their energy bills to help reach Net Zero targets.
  • 65% of UK adults say they haven’t been given enough of a say on the government’s Net Zero policies.
  • “Net Zero could deliver a political crisis greater than the Poll Tax”

A staggering 70% of Brits say they are concerned about the financial impact of increased energy costs this Christmas, according to a new poll released today. This includes 79% of Labour voters. You can view the data tables here.

Meanwhile three in five (58%) UK adults say they would NOT be willing to pay higher taxes on their energy bills to help reach Net Zero targets including 49% of Labour and Green Party voters.

Two thirds (65%) of UK adults say the public have not been given enough of a say on the Government’s Net Zero policies, and while 30% of 18-24 year olds feel their voices have been heard, only 10% of all those over 45 feel they have had sufficient input.

The poll, commissioned by Net Zero Watch and conducted by Savanta ComRes, also found over 60% of Brits believe they won’t benefit from government’s ‘green’ subsidies – £5,000 to replace gas boilers with heat pumps and 35% of the cost of an electric vehicles, up to £2,500.

The most unpopular policy of the late twentieth century, and one that ultimately brought down Margaret Thatcher, was the introduction of the UK Poll Tax. In the months leading up to its introduction in April 1990, polls showed around 60% of the population were opposed to it.

With a raft of measures set for introduction, such as the phasing out of gas boilers by 2035, petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and the mandatory EPC ‘C’ rating for landlords by 2025, the current government looks as if it is heading towards a “Poll Tax” moment of their own. These figures clearly show that the country is not behind either the policies or the direction of travel, and over two-thirds don’t feel they’ve been given a say.

Craig Mackinlay MP, Chair of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group said:

As I’ve been saying for some time, I didn’t become a Conservative to make my constituents colder and poorer.

It’s clear, looking at these figures, that the British public are not signed up to the government’s plans. They feel they haven’t been consulted or had their say; the majority don’t feel that government grants for air pumps or electric cars are either relevant to them, or more fundamentally needed to nudge them towards unreliable technologies they don’t want, and there is real worry about the ever-increasing costs of energy bills this winter.

The general public are quite obviously not onside, and we need to be very careful about just whose shoulders are going to be carrying the very considerable costs of Net Zero.

Steve Baker MP, who heads up the steering committee of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group said:

I’ve warned that the cost of Net Zero could deliver a political crisis greater than the Poll Tax, and these figures show that the government are heading straight for such an eventuality.

The British people are clearly deeply unhappy about paying higher taxes to help reach Net Zero targets and feel they haven’t been consulted about the choices the government are making.

Grants for air pumps and electric cars are all very well, but how many people can actually afford to pay all the additional costs? 20% think they will actually benefit.

We are heading down a path where blithe promises are made without considering the realities of current technology and the fact that many people in this country will just be left colder and poorer.

Benny Peiser, Director of Net Zero Watch, said:

Whilst these are not shocking figures to us, they should ring alarm bells in No. 10. Britain may have hosted COP26, but the general public feel that they have not been given a real say on the changes the government are forcing through.

Millions of families will be struggling to keep their homes warm and their cars running this winter. Fuel prices continue to soar and the burden of these energy costs will fall on the elderly and the low paid at a time when people are already finding things tough.

The government need to start listening and setting a more realistic path. We cannot bankrupt the country for an arbitrary goal or to look good on the international stage.