Akel-backed presidential candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis on Tuesday trashed the tax reform proposal of his rival Averof Neophytou, whom he mockingly likened to former British Prime Minister Liz Truss.

A day earlier, Disy’s Neophytou had unveiled his proposal, where people would file their tax returns as a household rather than as individuals, as is now the case. He claimed this single change would benefit 126,000 households by significantly reducing their taxable income.

Neophytou also asserted that over time and as people spent more into the economy, state tax revenues would in fact rise.

But Mavroyiannis brushed the idea aside, calling it out as “populism of the worst kind,” “a bomb placed at the foundation of public finances,” and “a vote-grabbing stunt.”

In a statement, the Akel candidate said: “Mr Averof Neophytou, the self-styled economy guru, supposedly the only one who can manage public finances, has suddenly transformed into a Liz Truss – the former prime minister of Britain who with her tax wizardry sent her country’s credit rating tumbling down, forcing her to resign.”

He went on: “Two weeks before the elections, Mr Neophytou, faithful servant of the few and the haves, proposes a tax reform which gives away tens of millions of euro to high wage earners, disproportionately favouring the high-income strata compared to the middle class, essentially negating the progressive tax system.”

Calling the proposal “frivolous,” Mavroyiannis speculated that it was hurriedly put together by Neophytou’s team.

“It’s a proposal which won’t be implemented, its sole purpose being to grab votes.”

Mavroyiannis recalled how only last October the finance minister – likewise from the ruling Disy party – stated that undertaking tax reform in the midst of inflation would be grossly irresponsible.

“So what has changed now, and they choose irresponsibility and making a mockery of voters? As for us, we stand as guarantors of the responsibility and credibility of the Cypriot economy. We shall not engage in oriental haggling, nor shall we hand out electioneering cheques that bounce.”

Mavroyiannis said he supports a progressive tax policy that “bridges social inequalities, rewards social and environmentally-minded entrepreneurship, and discourages those who with their actions raise the risk for the country as a whole.

“Lies and deceptions have governed us for 10 years now. Enough.”