More than half say rich should pay more

Only a quarter of Danes think the wealthiest should not pay the greatest share of society’s costs

A majority of Danes believe the wealthiest should shoulder a greater share of the tax burden to pay for society's expenses such as the welfare state, a new study has revealed.

The survey, carried out by YouGov for Ugebrevet A4, asked whether individuals agreed with the principle that the ‘broadest shoulders’ should bear the greatest burden.

Over half – 53 percent – of those polled said they agreed with the principle, though support was greater from voters of left-wing parties than centrist or right-wing parties.

Seventy-nine percent of Socialdemokraterne (S) voters and 84 percent of Enhedslisten voters agreed, while only 23 percent of Konservative voters and 24 percent of Liberal Alliance voters agreed.

Despite this spread, only 27 percent of all respondents said they partially or completely disagreed with the statement, leading experts and politicians to argue that the results of the survey indicates a continued support for the welfare state in Denmark.

“There is a long tradition in Denmark of support for the welfare state,” Bent Greve, a professor from the department of society and globalisation at Roskilde University, told Ugebrevet A4. “Many people believe that we should distribute the financing of social services so that everyone has access to a majority of services.”

Magnus Heunicke (S) argued that the study flew in the face of commentators that claim Danes are abandoning their overwhelming support for the welfare state.

“The study contradicts the supposed move toward the right by Danish society, which has been pure right-wing spin,” Heunicke said. “It shows that Danes are a people who still highly value solidarity. And this pleases me immeasurably.”

The results of the survey also demonstrated how some parties were split on the issue, in particular opposition party Venstre (V). Forty-three percent of V's voters polled said that they disagreed that the rich should pay more, while 35 percent said that they agreed.

V lost the election last September but is currently the single largest polling party.

“Venstre has become a centre-seeking party that appeals to many different groups in society,” Martin Ågerup from the thinktank Cepos told Ugebrevet A4, adding that while the party has been capturing voters from many other parties, it may not necessarily hang on to them all. “It may give an opportunity to smaller parties to syphon off some of their voters.”

The study also demonstrated a link between wage levels and support for the principle that the wealthiest should carry a greater burden. Sixty-six percent of Danes earning between 200,000 and 400,000 kroner a year answered that they agreed with the principle, while only 39 percent of those earning over 800,000 kroner agreed.

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