LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday voters deserved to be rewarded with tax cuts "after years of sacrifice," pledging to reduce taxes if he won a national election in May.
Speaking less than four months before an election that is set to be the most closely-fought in modern British history, Cameron sought to persuade voters that his Conservative Party's economic management over the last five years meant he would be able to lower taxes if re-elected.
"After some dark times, we are coming out the other side," Cameron said in a campaign speech in southern England, according to extracts released by his office. "After years of sacrifice, the British people deserve a reward."
The direction of Britain's economic policy is one of the starkest dividing lines between Cameron's Conservatives, who want to cut the country's budget deficit aggressively by reducing government spending, and the opposition Labour Party, who have set a more flexible deficit reduction target which uses tax increases to offset spending cuts.
Cameron has previously promised voters tax cuts worth 7.2 billion pounds ($10.82 billion), seeking to translate his party's stronger reputation for economic management into an electoral advantage over Labour.
Most opinion polls show the two parties are tied or that Labour is narrowly ahead going into the May 7 vote, with neither looking likely to win an overall majority. Labour said Cameron had not spelled out how the cuts would be paid for, and accused him of skewing tax breaks towards the wealthy.
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(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)