May 17, 2017 / 9:03 PM / in 2 months

May to pledge to wipe out deficit by middle of next decade - Telegraph

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a news conference in London's Canary Wharf financial district, May 17, 2017.Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May will commit to wiping out the country's budget deficit by the middle of the next decade, allowing for greater borrowing to support the economy in the run-up to Brexit, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

May's ruling Conservatives will present their policy pledges to voters on Thursday ahead of a June 8 parliamentary election.

The reported pledge on the deficit would represent a slower pace of fixing Britain's budget shortfall than implied by Chancellor Philip Hammond in March when he said he would aim to cut the deficit to 0.7 pct of gross domestic product by the 2021/22 financial year.

May will also pledge to ensure corporation tax falls to 17 percent by 2020, the Telegraph said.

Some pensioners will lose benefits under the plans to fund social care, the newspaper said, adding that May will pledge to remove winter fuel payments from the wealthy and to charge more people who currently receive free care in their own home.

May will also end universal free school lunches for infants to fund an extra 1 billion pounds per year for education, the newspaper said.

The Conservatives will ditch a so called tax "triple-lock" that guaranteed no rises in income tax, national insurance or VAT, but the party will make a general commitment to lower taxes.

On immigration, May will stand by a pledge to bring it down to the tens of thousands, but will give no deadline. BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said the manifesto will propose extra charges for businesses who employ non-EU migrants and higher charges for migrants who use the National Health Service.

A spokesman for the Conservative Party did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reports.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton

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