By: Sam Gregory
A groundbreaking new report has revealed majority support in the UK for a wide range of progressive and transformative policies that could address issues of collective concern.
The Common Ground looked at public support for ideas ranging from a Green New Deal to a £15 minimum wage, as well as Universal Basic Income, wealth taxes and rent controls.
The Sheffield-based campaign analysed 2,000 data sources and say that what they found turns the received wisdom that Britain is an inherently conservative country “on its head”.
“We face a perfect storm of climate inaction, social injustice and corrupted democracy – but we have plenty of solutions available to us to solve the problems we collectively face,” said Common Ground co-founder Jon Maiden.
“All we lack is the political will. By uniting around the common ground we share, people in the UK can collectively reclaim their power and use it to deliver for the common good.”
To establish what constitutes the common ground of British politics, the campaign looked at policies that attracted at least 65% support from progressive voters and at least 50% support from all voters.
The campaign define progressive voters as those who said they voted Green, Labour or Liberal Democrat at the 2019 general election.
They found that 75% of all voters want an ambitious Green New Deal for green jobs and infrastructure, while 65% support a £15 minimum wage. 74% of voters want to see rent controls introduced – such as a cap on rent – to help deal with the cost of living crisis, while between 65% and 69% want energy, water, rail, buses and mail to be nationalised.
“The UK needs radical and progressive change and this Common Ground report shows that millions of people already support many of the changes we need,” said Simon Duffy, co-founder of Citizen Network.
“Our democratic system is asleep at the wheel and we hope a focus on our common ground will help us all wake up to the positive future we can create together if we leave the old broken politics behind us.”
Started by Maiden and his father Charles, The Common Ground hope to unite voters around a common cause and inspire them to think pragmatically about how they can achieve the changes they want to see. The group found that even supposedly radical policies like Universal Basic Income are supported by 59% of all voters – and a staggering 71% of progressive voters.
They also found that:
- 78% want the NHS run in the public sector and 65% support tax rises to boost NHS funding
- 83% of all voters want free social care for the over-65s
- 64% want a national house-building programme of 500,000 new homes a year
- 75% want to rewild at least 5% of the UK
- 63% want to see wealth taxes introduced and 65% support higher Income Tax on earnings above £100,000
- 68% support higher corporation tax and 87% want more done to reduce tax avoidance
- 82% of all want more power devolved to local areas across the UK
With the policies that The Common Ground looked at, they found that support amongst progressive voters was 7% higher on average than among voters in general.
But they say that support amongst self-identified conservative voters was still relatively high, coming out at 54% on average.
The area with the highest degree of consensus between left and right appears to be responding to the climate crisis, while policies on migration, police and justice were more divisive.
Overall, the full report found 200 policies that could appeal to a majority of people in the UK, and form the basis of a progressive political programme.
“We believe that the question for opposition parties isn’t whether voters support progressive policies, but rather which of those policies should be prioritised,” said The Common Ground in a statement.
“We found that there is considerable scope for opposition parties to unite around a bold, progressive agenda that delivers real change in people’s lives.”