Sunak insists he has not given up on young voters amid tax breaks for pensioners

Rishi Sunak has insisted he has not given up on winning the youth vote after being questioned about the discrepancy between his election pitch to pensioners and young people.

The Prime Minister wants to introduce a new form of national service for 18-year-olds, which would see them join the armed forces or take part in voluntary public service over the course of a year.

Meanwhile, state pensioners are being offered tax relief, with a rise in their personal income tax allowance that would give them a cut of around £95 in 2025-26, rising to £275 in 2029-30.

The move is seen as an attempt to boost Tory support from older voters who did not benefit from cuts to National Insurance in the Budget and Autumn Statement.

Journalists who spoke to Sunak during the election campaign in Staffordshire pointed to the scrapping of the Tenant Reform Bill and the duty to complete national service as measures likely to deter young voters from supporting him.

But he defended his plans and insisted they would be “transformational” for young people.

“I think providing young people – regardless of their background, where they come from, where they live – with the opportunities that national service will provide, and the skills that it will give them later in life, will be a very positive thing,” he told reporters. for them.

“At the same time, promoting a culture of service in our country that will make our communities more cohesive, and enhance our security and resilience as a nation.”

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He also claimed that his daughters were keener on his pledge to bring national service to young people than on his previous plans for mathematics at school.

“I think my daughters are certainly more excited than they were when the maths 18s were announced,” the Prime Minister said during a campaign trip to Churchill China Ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent.

“Look, I’m a father, right. So I’m doing this first and foremost as a father, knowing full well that if I succeed, my daughters will too.”

“And I’m really excited to do this. A lot of people volunteer without this, but I think doing it this way — something that the entire country, an entire generation, is doing together — will be transformative.”

The new pensions policy will cost £2.4bn a year by 2029/30, and will be funded by a clampdown on tax evaders, the same amount of money that will help pay for Sunak’s plan for compulsory national service for 18-year-olds.

The National Service Plan costs a similar amount, £2.5 billion.

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