Rishi Sunak's Last Stand: Tax Cuts and Housing Promises

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to unveil further tax cuts and assistance for first-time home buyers in his Conservative party's election manifesto. With the party trailing in polls, Sunak aims to attract core voters by promising economic growth amidst criticism and challenges from both Labour and Reform UK parties.

Reuters | Updated: 11-06-2024 14:27 IST | Created: 11-06-2024 14:27 IST
Rishi Sunak's Last Stand: Tax Cuts and Housing Promises
Rishi Sunak

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will promise further tax cuts and help for first-time home buyers when he sets out his Conservative party's election manifesto on Tuesday, one of the last throws of the dice for a leader badly lagging in the polls. With surveys showing the Conservatives consistently about 20 points behind the opposition Labour Party before an election on July 4, Sunak has set out policies to shore up his core vote, from pledges on more police officers to lower taxes and support for pensioners.

So far, his message has failed to dent the Labour lead, and he also faces a challenge from the right-wing Reform UK party, which, under the leadership of Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, has vowed to lead a "revolt" against the Conservatives. The party's manifesto, containing the policies it will pursue if it forms the next government, is expected to make much of already-announced tax cuts, and set plans for further reductions if re-elected for another term after 14 years in power.

"We will enable working people to keep more of the money you earn because you have earned it and have the right to choose what to spend it on," Sunak will say at the manifesto launch at the Formula One racetrack Silverstone in central England, according to excerpts of his speech. Media reports said Sunak was expected to promise another 2 pence per pound cut to National Insurance, paid by workers.

He will also repeat his pledge to abolish "the double tax on work when financially responsible to do so" - a reference to scrapping the national insurance payroll tax, eventually. TURNING POINT

Sunak has argued that after years of turmoil since the COVID pandemic and energy price spikes, the economy is at a turning point and starting to grow again, and says Labour would derail any recovery. As in previous elections, the Conservatives say that only they can be trusted to keep taxes low while Labour would need to hike rates to fund their promises, stalling economic growth.

But previous tax cuts have failed to move the dial for Sunak and polls show many voters want change and greater investment in public services. The public are still grappling with a 21% surge in shop prices in the last three years, and fallout from the chaotic tenure of Sunak's predecessor Liz Truss, whose economic policies led to higher borrowing costs and mortgage rate rises.

Labour has denied that it would put up taxes, ruling out any increase to the rates of income tax, national insurance, value-added or corporation tax. On Tuesday, the party's health policy chief also ruled out an increase in capital gains tax. Sunak is likely to repeat an accusation that Labour would increase taxes by more than 2,000 pounds ($2,545) on working households - a charge Labour says is a lie and which has been questioned by economists.

But he remains on the back foot. He has spent recent days apologising after leaving D-Day commemorations in France early to give an election interview, a move which prompted members of his own party to question his abilities. Before the manifesto launch, Labour said the document would be "littered with unfunded commitment after unfunded commitment".

($1 = 0.7857 pounds) (Writing by Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton; additional reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Jan Harvey and Bernadette Baum)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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