Lib Dems target Tory seats by highlighting taxes on pensioners

lib dems target tory seats by highlighting taxes on pensioners

Sir Ed Davey's party is targeting older voters ahead of the general election - Aaron Chown/PA

The Liberal Democrats have their sights set on snatching a string of coastal seats from the Conservatives by highlighting stealth taxes on pensioners.

Sir Ed Davey’s party is targeting older voters in seats where the number of pensioners being sucked into paying income tax is higher than the Tory majority.

At the Autumn Statement in 2022, the Government froze the level at which a person starts to pay income tax at £12,570 until 2027-28 – dragging more people into having to pay the tax every year.

The decision means that 1.6 million more pensioners will be paying income tax by 2027-28 than would have done if the threshold for paying it had risen along with inflation since 2021-22. The freeze will lead to an average hit of £530 a year for tax-paying pensioners.

The Lib Dems believe that the hike will allow them to benefit from a “pensioner revolt” in marginal ‘Blue Wall’ Conservative seats.

In total, there are 69 constituencies where the Lib Dems came second to the Tories at the last election – and where the MPs’ majority is smaller than the number of pensioners.

In seven of these seats, the estimated number of pensioners due to be dragged into paying income tax is bigger than the Tory MPs’ majority.

The constituencies of Wimbledon, Carshalton and Wallington, Cheltenham, Winchester, Cheadle, Lewes and South Cambridgeshire all have more pensioners hit by the stealth tax than the 2019 Conservative majority.

A potential “pensioner revolt”...

The Lib Dems said that a number of seaside towns which have large numbers of pensioners, such as Eastbourne, North Norfolk, West Dorset and the Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s constituency of Chichester, are all particularly vulnerable.

The party is preparing to flood these seats with targeted mailings and leaflets aimed at older voters, flagging the stealth tax impact.

A Lib Dem source said: “A pensioner revolt against the government could make the difference between us winning in a whole string of coastal towns around the country.

“We are hearing from many older voters who are sick to their back teeth of being taken for granted by Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives. Many have voted Conservative all their lives but can’t bring themselves to back this failing government after years of chaos and unfair tax hikes.

“From savage stealth taxes to sewage dumping and health services on the brink, this Conservative government’s record is one of abject failure and people are looking for a change.”

Sir Ed is set to embark on a tour of Lib Dem battleground seats across Scotland, Wales and England next week, with the campaign trail taking him to the former Lib Dem stronghold of the West Country.

The party hopes to replace the SNP as the third biggest party at Westminster in the election.

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