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Rich pickings

General opinion is that there are very few young people who intend to vote while most over-55s intend to do so.

So, predictably, the Conservatives are promising that those who have the most will hold on to as much as possible. They are still living in the Thatcher days when the electorate was mainly moved by self-interest.

When so much wealth is held by such a small percentage of the electorate, why not entice them with low taxes and small-minded policies?

And, of course, there will be those who are not wealthy but hope to be one day.

The Tories will let families keep more of what they earn – to make their own spending choices – by cutting taxes on people and Government and promising no loss of services.

Good news for those with high incomes. No change there, so that&#39s alright then.

They will abolish taxes on savings and dividends at all levels, helping the deserving rich. Can someone tell me, are there any undeserving rich?

The Labour manifesto is altogether a different matter. The party admits it has not yet turned the decline of 18 years into the promised land that many of us voted for but ask: “Please, give us another cha-nce to put it right.”

The 1 per cent annual management charge world is here and is likely to spread to other products. Cat-standard Isas and mortgages and stakeholder are the beginning. This will make the biggest impact on our industry.

We will, at last, say goodbye to those who take maximum commission on every case possible – salespeople rather than advisers.

Labour will continue to help the poorest in society and will build on the measures brought in – minimum wage, working family tax credit, children&#39s tax credit and doing better for pensioners.

Mortgage rates are lower than they have been for over 30 years, making payments a lower percentage of our mon-thly pay. Labour will do all this and not increase income tax.I am not sure whether to laugh or cry.

The Liberal Democrats will make the link between taxation and spending clearer, perhaps giving us a choice of how tax money is spent.

“Would you prefer to give the additional 1 per cent inc-ome tax to the local school or to the hospital at the end of the road?” Very seductive.

Their big story is about tax. The LibDems have stolen some of Labour&#39s clothes by promising higher taxes for the rich and lower for the poor.

The problem with this sensible plan is that the voters don&#39t like it. When asked, we all say yes to tax increases but in the privacy of the ballot booth, historically, we vote for low tax. The income rich, those earning over £100,000 a year, will pay more tax. At that income level, it will not be too much of a burden.

For the majority of the population, those earning less than £25,000, the tax burden will reduce. Those earning less than £6,500 will pay no tax at all. Unfortunately for the LibDems, those low-paid wor-kers do not turn out in great numbers to vote.

All the manifestos promise increases in state pensions and that they will look at the compulsory purchase of annuities at age 75.

Liberal Democrats admit they do not expect to gain power. They hope to become the biggest opposition party, able to influence policy. This allows them to offer the most creative policies of the three.

As a woman who has been a lifelong Labour voter, I found the LibDems&#39 policies very attractive. A friend told me that there is a tactical voting website, maximum use for minimum effort. Perhaps this time I will surf the web before casting my vote.

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