Funding the UK’s Future Investments – a Citizens’ Jury
About the study
NatCen's Centre for Deliberation (CfD) was commissioned by the Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) to design a deliberative research project to explore and understand public attitudes towards funding the UK's future public investments. The research supported the Centre for Progressive Policy's existing policy programme, exploring the potential for inclusive growth. Our research drew on a Citizen's Jury model: we convened a group of people, broadly reflective of the UK's various publics, to consider evidence and make decisions on different ways to fund the UK's future investments, covering wealth taxes, excess profits tax, fiscal rules, and fiscal devolution. 39 people deliberated online over a period of 10 hours, with the final jury session delivering decisions on wealth taxes and fiscal devolution.
- The jury favoured giving local authorities greater powers to raise and spend taxation in their local area (fiscal devolution)
- The jury recommended that future fiscal devolution should:
- be responsive to local people;
- ensure a fair balance of local and national priorities;
- be regulated with accountability measures;
- be transparent and open to public scrutiny;
- build capacity.
- The jury found it harder to agree on which wealth taxes provide a fairer way of funding the UK's investments in the future, although a small majority preferred millionaires taxes over other forms of wealth taxation, such as inheritance tax.
- A post-workshop survey revealed that much of the jury maintained the view that businesses and corporations should shoulder a greater share of the tax burden going forward.
- Deliberative methods, whether citizens juries or citizens assemblies, could play a productive role in policy development or consultation processes on these issues in the future: people want more of a say in how the UK's future investments are funded.
Our research used a citizen jury type approach to understand and delineate public attitudes towards policy options that, according to CPP, might produce 'fair economic growth' while funding the UK's future public investments. We used a citizen jury model; engaging participants - broadly reflective of the UK public - with evidence and a range of arguments on relevant policy questions, to explore public attitudes towards fiscal and money raising policy options. These topics included specific tax raising options (wealth taxes, excess profit taxes) as well as fiscal rules (rules that set out how governments tax, borrow and spend) and fiscal devolution (giving more powers to local authorities to tax and spend in local areas). The deliberations proceeded through a staged process of online learning sessions, in which participants were briefed by CPP tax specialists before deliberating among themselves, and culminated in a longer 'decision making' jury session, in which participants thought through hypothetical scenarios to make important policy trade-offs.