CONSUMERS want the Chancellor to tax firms offering high-interest loans in a bid to discourage soaring personal debt.
Research by accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward has found that the measure would be one of the most popular moves Gordon Brown could make in his upcoming Pre-Budget Review.
A levy on 'loan sharks' came third on consumers' wish lists, with 10% believing it should by the Chancellor's first priority.
It was beaten by a desire to see the inheritance tax threshold increased and the belief that the Government needed to put up the entry level for the basic rate of income tax.
The poll of more than 2,000 taxpayers revealed a growing belief that the Government needed to act to deter consumer debt.
Overall debt in the UK has topped £1.25trillion.
Also, personal insolvencies are running at a record high.
A BDO Stoy Hayward spokesman said: "Consumers are calling for the Government to penalise those finance providers they feel are making money out of consumer debt, presumably through irresponsible lending."
But research found that only 1% of those surveyed believed the Chancellor would introduce such legislation.