Philip Hammond is planning a tax raid on older workers to pay for a giveaway for younger voters.
Treasury sources have revealed next month’s Budget will see the chancellor deliver a “big, bold” plan that will seek to wrench a portion of the youth vote from Labour.
Hammond is reported to be looking at lowering tax rates for younger workers, which would be paid for by slashing pension tax relief for better off workers, who are usually older.
While this could help diminish Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal to disaffected younger voters, it runs the risk of alienating a group that are traditionally seen as Tory faithful.
There is also speculation Hammond could unveil cuts in National Insurance for younger workers.
“Philip has said that we have to have a radical Budget, something that is a big offer to the nation,” a senior government source told the Sunday Times.
“It means memorable stuff that changes thinking and changes futures. Pre-conference, there was very much a view that it had to be a safety first Budget.
“Now the view has galvanised that this Budget has got to be big, it’s got to be powerful, it’s got to be revolutionary.”
And, Lord Willetts, a former universities minister under David Cameron, told BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Anything that rebalances and helps younger people I would be in favour of.”
There has been a growing movement among certain backbench Tory MPs to have Hammond sacked over his less-than-enthusiastic approach to Brexit, described as “Eeyore” – a reference to the gloomy outlook adopted by Winnie the Pooh’s friend.
And, his bungled efforts to reform National Insurance earlier this year were widely condemned as an attack on ‘white van man’. The plans were dumped within 24 hours.