The Public Are More Left-Wing Than Ed Miliband On These 11 Policies

As Labour’s programme starts to take shape, it’s becoming clear the public are significantly more ‘red’ on some issues than the Labour leader is.

1. The public want a 75% rate of tax on incomes over over £1m.

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Labour has ruled out adopting the proposal, which French President Francois Hollande made the centrepiece of his campaign in 2012. But according to polling by YouGov a decent majority (56%) of the public support introducing the measure in the UK, compared to only 31% who oppose it.

2. They also want the 50% tax rate to kick in at £100,000, not £150,000.

Luke Macgregor / Reuters

Labour have said they would restore the 50% rate of tax on incomes over £150,000. But when YouGov asked people at what income level they would like high taxes on the rich to start, the median answer was £100,000.

3. They want the minimum wage to be raised to a living wage, unlike Ed Miliband.

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The public support raising the minimum wage to a ‘living wage’ by 60% in favour to 31% in opposition, according to polling by Survation. This means it would be increased to a level calculated to cover living costs, currently £8.80/hour in London or £7.65/hour elsewhere.

Labour have said they would offer companies who pay the living wage a tax break, but don’t want to make it compulsory.

4. The public want a complete ban on zero hours contracts.

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Labour have resisted calls to ban zero hours contracts, and instead said they would give workers the right to ask for regular hours after six months (if they don’t get fired before then).

The public takes a different view: 56% of people support a complete ban on the contracts, which allow employers to send a worker home without pay at any time. 25% would oppose a ban, YouGov found.

5. A majority of voters from all parties want to nationalise the energy companies.

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Ed Miliband has pledged to freeze energy prices for 20 months, but wants to leave the UK’s gas and electricity supply in private hands.

But the public support taking the companies into public ownership by 68% to 21%. There’s even a big majority of Conservative voters in favour of nationalisation, by 52% to 38%.

6. They also want to take the railways back into public ownership.

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Ed Miliband hasn’t ruled out renationalising the railways, which were privatised in the 90s; but he hasn’t committed to it yet either.

The public opinion picture is far more clear cut: a decent majority of voters from every party want the railways in public hands.

7. Most people want Royal Mail to be renationalised, too.

Phil Noble / Reuters

By 67% to 22%, the public want Royal Mail in the public sector. Ed Miliband has criticised the handling of the coalition’s privatisation of the service, but has stopped short of saying he’d actually reverse the move.

8. The public oppose academies and want councils to be accountable for schools.

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Tony Blair introduced the academies programme, which involves taking schools out of the control of local elected councils, and letting them set their own teaching and budget priorities.

Polling by ICM suggests most people oppose the policy, but the Labour leadership remains in favour, and has even said it would set up more of the independent state schools.

9. Most people would go further on limiting the power of newspaper owners than Ed Miliband.

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Ed Miliband has said he doesn’t think one person or company should own more than 30% of the UK’s newspaper market.

The public would go further: they wants to make it illegal for individuals and companies to own more than two national newspapers. 74% of people would also completely ban individuals who weren’t full-time residents of the UK from owning newspapers, ruling out a lot of existing owners.

Where Ed Miliband supports the voluntary Leveson code to regulate the conduct of the press, the public wants to force newspaper to adopt impartiality rules similar to those of television news, changing the very nature of how they report.

10. The public wants the state to set rent levels in private rented housing.

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Before 1988, local authorities could set maximum rents in private rented housing. Last month Ed Miliband unveiled a plan to limit the rate at which landlords could increase rents, but stopped short of full rent control.

According to YouGov, a plurality of the public would go further (45% vs 43%), and say they want to see the state given the power to set rents directly.

11. The public also wants a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions.

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP / GettyImages

Campaigners have called for a very small 0.05% tax on each financial transaction, with the proceeds going to fund public services. The proposal is supported by 51% of the public and opposed by 19%, according to YouGov – Ed Miliband does not endorse the proposals.

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