UK’s Sunak pledges tax cuts for pensioners as Tories face election wipeout | Business and Economy

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to cut taxes for millions of pensioners as he seeks to turn around his Conservative Party’s dismal poll numbers ahead of general elections in July.

Under the plans announced on Monday, the tax-free allowance for pensioners would increase by at least 2.5 percent, or in line with the highest of average earnings or inflation.

The proposals would see some 8 million pensioners pay about 100 pounds ($128) less tax in 2025 and about 275 pounds less annually from 2030.

Under a so-called triple lock introduced by the Conservatives in 2011, the state pension already rises either by 2.5 percent or in line with average earnings – whichever is highest – but income tax thresholds have been frozen since 2021.

The opposition Labour Party, which is widely tipped to take power after 14 years in opposition, has committed to keep the triple-lock guarantee for at least five years if elected.

Sunak said the “bold action” showed that his party was on the side of pensioners.

“I passionately believe that those who have worked hard all their lives should have peace of mind and security in retirement,” he said.

Labour Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth slammed the announcement as “another desperate move from a chaotic Tory party torching any remaining facade of its claims to economic credibility”.

“Not only have they promised to spend tens of billions of pounds since this campaign began, they also have a completely unfunded £46 billion [$59bn]policy to scrap national insurance that threatens the very basis of the state pension,” Ashworth said.

Following months of speculation, Sunak on Wednesday called an election for July 4, months earlier than expected by most observers.

Opinion polls have for months shown the Conservatives lagging Labour by about 20 percentage points amid voter discontent over high inflation, weak economic growth and a series of political scandals.

Some polls have suggested that the Conservatives are on track for their worst election defeat in history, surpassing their 178-seat loss in 1997 under John Major.

A record 78 Conservative MPs have announced they will not contest the election, including leading figures such as Secretary for Housing Michael Gove and former Prime Minister Theresa May.

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