(Bloomberg) -- The UK Liberal Democrats dropped a pledge to raise income tax as Britain’s traditional third party seeks to attract Tory voters ahead of a general election expected next year.

“I don’t think it’s credible for any opposition party to raise the tax burden more than the Conservatives are doing, which is quite shocking,” party leader Ed Davey told the BBC on Monday, rowing back from their previous promise to raise income tax by one percentage point. “We’re in a cost-of-living crisis, people are really struggling with their bills, the last thing they need is more tax rises.”

Davey’s party is hoping to make further inroads into the Tory vote in the so-called “Blue Wall” — typically rural and affluent seats in England where the Liberal Democrats are often second to the ruling Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats have made eye-catching gains in by-elections and local elections this year, and pose a considerable threat to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s chances of winning the next election if they continue that run.

Read More: UK’s Liberal Democrats Sniff Power in Hope of 2010 Replay 

Britain’s tax burden is at its highest since World War II after it swelled during the coronavirus pandemic. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has said there is no space for tax cuts at his upcoming Autumn Statement, though he wants to bring down taxes in future.

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