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Treasury plans to tax wealthy pensioners to repair finances

written by Bella Palmer
pensioners

As a result, more people face a 25 per cent levy on any additional income from their pension pot

The Treasury is drawing up plans for a tax raid on wealthy pensioners as it seeks to repair the nation’s finances after the pandemic.

Officials are working on plans to cut the lifetime allowance from just over £1 million to £900,000. Lifetime allowance is the amount people can build up in their pension pot before incurring punitive charges.

As a result, more people face a 25 per cent levy on any additional income from their pension pot. If they choose to draw down a lump sum, the charge rises to 55 per cent.

The move is seen as more palatable than plans to cut tax relief for pension contributions by higher-rate taxpayers.

Introducing a flat rate of relief — said to be 25 per cent — could raise an additional £4 billion a year but it is “very complex” and would take years to implement.

You’d basically need to overhaul the tax system, a government source said. It’s not simple. The source also said that it would be politically toxic. It would hammer Middle England. Sunak won’t do it. Any change will not be implemented until the autumn statement, expected in November.

The prime minister’s spokesman said yesterday that the government was fully committed to the triple lock, under which the state pension rises in line with inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.

When asked about the possibility of a one-year suspension of the manifesto pledge, the prime minister’s spokesman said: We are fully committed to the pensions triple lock.

Boris Johnson was asked about the triple-lock reports yesterday. He said: I’m reading all sorts of stuff at the moment which I don’t recognise at all about the government’s plans.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, told LBC radio that the matter would be for Sunak, the chancellor, to consider, but added: I don’t think there is any chance he will change it. No 10 said that a review later this year would determine the “final figures” used for any pensions uprating.

Asked whether the review could give the Treasury “wiggle room”, Johnson’s spokesman added: We’re just simply making the point that there is significant uncertainty around the trajectory of average earnings and whether there will be the spike that has been forecasted.

The official denied that rises in income tax could be used instead to pay for the Covid recovery, after heavy borrowing by the government during the pandemic.

On income tax, we’ve been clear that there was a promise made at the election that we would not raise the rate of income tax and we stand by that, the prime minister’s spokesman said.

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