London, April 17 (IANS) Nearly half the Britons think British Prime Minister David Cameron’s management of his financial affairs has been “morally repugnant” — and that all tax returns should be made public.
In a ComRes poll for The Independent, 49 percent of people said the tax returns of all citizens should be published, with just 31 percent saying they disagreed with the idea.
This open approach is the law in Sweden, Finland and Norway, where each person’s annual financial details are available online in a searchable database, The Independent reported.
However, not everyone is a fan of such rigorous transparency — 30 percent of people admitted that they have used cash to pay a builder to avoid VAT.
Only 31 percent of people thought Cameron had been “honest and open” following his involvement in the Panama Papers leak.
Around 44 percent of people agreed that “morally repugnant”, a phrase used by Conservative Party’s George Osborne about tax avoidance, describes Cameron’s management of his financial affairs.
The survey found that 59 percent of people believe that the Conservative Party “only represents the interests of the rich” — an increase of eight points since three years ago — and just 23 percent said the government has a good record of tackling tax avoidance and evasion.
But so-called “Dodgy Dave” was still the number one choice of politician to manage respondents’ financial affairs, winning 36 percent of the vote compared with Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, both at 19 percent.
Labour voters are less loyal to their leader than their Conservative counterparts, with 42 percent saying they would trust Corbyn to manage their financial affairs, compared to 71 percent of Conservative voters who would entrust their accounts to Cameron.
Cameron published a summary of his tax returns last weekend, sparking controversy over inheritance tax after it was revealed that he inherited 300,000 pounds from his father and received a 200,000 pounds gift from his mother.
Other party leaders including Corbyn and Sturgeon have since followed suit.
A large majority of voters — 72 percent — said Britain should take direct control of its overseas territories which could be used as tax havens, following the furore over the tax affairs of the rich and powerful caused by a huge leak of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The survey also asked about the European Union, revealing widespread Eurosceptic views — 53 percent of voters disagree that all citizens of other EU countries should have the right to live and work in Britain.
However, this represents a fall in opposition to the free movement of EU workers since 2013, when it was opposed by 57 percent. Support for free movement has risen from 23 percent three years ago to 31 percent.