The Conservatives have been accused of wanting a £1 billion tax increase for pensioners in the by-election battle for Owen Paterson’s seat.
Neil Shastri-Hurst also demanded that the triple lock on pensions be abolished and that they be linked to life expectancy.
The race to replace Owen Paterson as North Shropshire MP has devolved into a squabble after the Conservative candidate was accused of advocating for working pensioners to pay thousands of pounds more in tax each year.
It comes after it was revealed that the Liberal Democrat candidate compared Boris Johnson to Adolf Hitler at a pro-Brexit rally in 2019.
Working pensioners should start paying National Insurance contributions, which would increase their annual tax bills by nearly £2,000, according to Neil Shastri-Hurst, who is vying for the safe Conservative seat.
The triple lock should be scrapped, according to the Conservative candidate, and replaced with a system based on the average life expectancy of retirees.
Mr Shastri-Hurst’s proposals, according to research by the House of Commons Library, would result in a £1 billion tax bill for hundreds of thousands of working pensioners.
Over-65s in North Shropshire would face a £2.2 million tax increase, or £1,900 per person.
In January of this year, the former British Army doctor and practicing barrister laid out his proposals in a blog for Tory grassroots site ConservativeHome.
In the article, he also argued that the triple lock should be abolished, and that the provision ensuring that pensions rise by consumer price inflation or 2.5 percent was “no longer defendable” now that all pensions were “pegged to life expectancy.”
The Tory candidate has been accused of being “completely out of touch with older people” in the area as a result of such a move, which would affect just under one in every four constituents in North Shropshire.
Mr Shastri-Hurst wrote on his blog that “the artificial bar of retirement at 65 no longer makes sense” because of increased life expectancy and improved health in later life.
“As a result of this, those over 65 are not required to pay national insurance.”
There is no justification for this exemption, and it should be removed,” he added.
The Liberal Democrats, who are vying for the seat, slammed the remarks, warning that retirees are already facing “soaring energy bills in the winter.”
Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson, said Mr Shastri-Hurst must “explain why only earlier.”
News summary from Infosurhoy in the United Kingdom.
In the by-election battle for Owen Paterson’s seat, the Conservatives have been accused of wanting a £1 billion tax hike for pensioners.
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Tory accused of wanting £1bn tax rise for pensioners in by-election scrap for Owen Paterson’s seat