UK's Osborne to allow pensioners to cash in annuities: newspapers

By Reuters

Mar 15, 2015 03:58 AM EDT

British finance minister George Osborne will allow pensioners to cash in annuities in exchange for lump sums in his annual budget next week, British newspapers reported, in a move designed to woo voters before a May national election.

The measures are an extension of pension reforms announced last year, which eased requirements on people to buy annuities as part of their pension.

The election on May 7 is shaping up to be the most unpredictable in decades, with anti-establishment parties gaining support at the expense of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party and the opposition Labour party.

While Osborne's focus on reducing Britain's large budget deficit means he is unlikely to offer any major giveaways in Wednesday's budget, allowing pensioners to cash in their annuities will likely appeal to older voters who are more likely to vote Conservative.

The measure will be introduced in 2016, according to newspapers due to be published on Sunday.

The Sunday Times also reported Osborne will offer tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas producers, hit hard by the sharp decline in the price of oil.

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