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BBC Election 2005

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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Tax rise soundings from BBC poll
Nurses on ward
The survey suggests support for more money for hospitals
Most people in Scotland want higher spending on schools, hospitals and pensions and would pay more tax to finance it, a BBC Scotland poll says.

The survey also indicates they are against more immigration but are not unduly worried about ID cards.

BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor said the poll set out to determine voters' priorities.

ICM interviewed a sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and over across Scotland by telephone between 4 and 7 April.

Brian Taylor said the poll was different from most as it deliberately set out to confront voters with the tough choices facing Scotland's new MPs after the general election.

READ THE POLL IN FULL

The survey suggests 19% want to keep taxation low, compared with 76% who want more for Scotland to spend on schools and hospitals, even if taxes were to increase.

Regarding pensions, 31% of those questioned said more should be saved for old age, while 61% want higher state pensions, funded by tax.

On the economy, 15% want to see faster growth, as opposed to 79% who call for an equitable share of wealth.

Of those surveyed, a majority said they wanted immigration kept low while nearly three quarters of those questioned said they would have no qualms about the introduction of ID cards as a safety measure.

Scotland is more concerned about the welfare state and social justice than it is about economic growth and cutting taxation
John Curtice
Strathclyde University

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said the poll highlighted a number of issues.

He told BBC Scotland's news website: "Scotland is more concerned about the welfare state and social justice than it is about economic growth and cutting taxation.

"To that degree I believe the poll seems to confirm the image that has always been given that Scotland is more concerned with the public sector and what it can get from giving as opposed to somewhere that is trying to enhance the private sector."

'Pretty unsympathetic'

However, he pointed out that most political parties were still reticent about saying they wanted to raise taxation.

Mr Curtice said it was clear that Scotland had "a pretty unsympathetic" attitude towards immigration.

"The Scottish Executive's attempts to persuade us that we need more immigrants haven't got very far and the UK-wide debate has completely overshadowed the arguments in Scotland," he said.

He pointed out that while Iraq was not a major issue for the majority of voters, there was a "concerned minority" who felt that the conflict was a great problem.

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