Support among the British public for higher taxes has grown alongside a rise in Euroscepticism, according to a major study published on Wednesday 28 June.

The annual British social attitudes survey, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) think-tank, found that 48% of respondents would back the Conservative government hiking taxes in a bid to spend more.

The level of support for tax hikes is the highest it has been since 2004. The research also revealed that 75% (+10) of voters feel that the UK should either leave the EU or see Brussels' powers reduced if Britain stays in the bloc.

"Suggestions that the EU referendum represented a lightning rod for a general disenchantment with politics are largely wide off the mark," the paper said.

"True, those with less interest in politics may have, relatively speaking, been a little more likely than usual to make it to the polls, while those who trust government less were a little more likely to vote to leave.

"But for the most part the outcome of the referendum reflected the concern of more 'authoritarian', socially conservative voters in Britain – that is, primarily older voters and those with few, if any, educational qualifications – about some of the social consequences of EU membership, most notably in respect of immigration."

Elsewhere, the survey found that British voters were more socially liberal than previous years, with "record proportions" of people being comfortable with same-sex relationships, pre-marital sex and abortion, among other issues. In particular, 75% of respondents said that sex before marriage is "not at all wrong", a rise of 5% compared to 2015 and an increase of 11% since 2012.

On top of that, record-highs of people said an abortion should be allowed if a woman decides on her own she does not want the child (70%) or if a couple cannot afford any more children (65%).

"It seems clear from these issues that 'social liberalism' is a growing feature of British society and will seemingly remain so as the older age cohorts are replaced by young ones," the report said.

"Some important divides exist, although they do appear to be narrowing. It will be interesting to test in future whether this growth in social liberalism also holds for other issues, such as race and the status of women."