Sunak and Truss in a new clash over the cost of living crisis

Liz Truss allies have insisted she is committed to helping struggling families with soaring bills as Tory leadership candidates clash once again over the cost of living crisis.

Rishi Sunak has launched a fresh attack on Ms Truss’ tax cut plan in an emergency budget, describing it as a “big home” for big businesses and better things will help those who need it most in the coming winter.

However, Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis – who is backing the Foreign Secretary – said they would look to do “whatever we can” to help those who are under pressure from rising inflation.

Rishi Sunak has said ‘bolder action’ is needed to get people through the winter (Jeff J Mitchell/PA) (PA wire)

Ms Truss’ team was forced to go on the defensive after she suggested over the weekend that there would be no “breakup” if she won the race for No 10 and her priority was to reduce her tax burden. .

Her supporters insist that her comment was misinterpreted and that she does not rule out further direct support for families struggling with energy bills.

However, Mr Sunak said her plan to cancel the national insurance increase, which he has put in place as prime minister to fund the NHS and social care, would leave one person with The national living wage below £60 a year gets better while pensioners won’t get a dime. .

Writing in The Sun, he said her proposed corporate tax cut would not help small businesses and would simply put money back into the coffers of the biggest profitable companies. biggest.

(Graphics PA) (Graphics PA)

With the Bank of England forecasting inflation to hit 13% – with the average household energy bill predicted to be close to £4,000 – Mr Sunak said his rival’s measures ” will not touch the parties”.

“Families are facing a long, difficult winter with rising bills. However, Liz’s plan to deal with that is to provide a big home for big businesses and the well-off, so that those most in need of help suffer the cold,” he said.

“These tax cuts simply won’t impact the parties. We need realism with clear eyes, not bombasticism with starry eyes. That means taking bolder action to protect people from the worst of winter.”

Former Conservative co-chairman Oliver Dowden, who is backing Mr Sunak, said that while Ms Truss insisted on tax cuts, the former prime minister accepted the need for “big, bold interventions”.

Liz Truss allies say she wants to put more money in people’s pockets (Jacob King/PA) (PA wire)

“We need to be realistic and honest with people about the scale of the challenge we’re facing,” he told Sky News.

“Both with the scale of inflation shrinking, which we haven’t seen in almost 40 years, and with the fact that energy bills are going to go up, possibly up to £4,000.

“There is no doubt that we need a significant-scale intervention to solve this problem.”

However, Mr Lewis defended Ms Truss’ approach, insisting she wanted to put more money in people’s pockets.

“We’re going to try to do whatever we can to help people – that’s what the emergency budget is for,” he told BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“She is willing to do more to help people but her focus is on doing it in a way that puts more money in people’s pockets, creating a high growth economy with higher wages. , more people work.

“So instead of having flyers, what we do is have a low tax economy that is driving growth and so with people having more money in their pockets, they are better off dealing with it.” deal with some of the challenges we see.”

Mr. Lewis said it was still possible to make tax cuts while dealing with inflation.

“We want to do both, want to make sure we’re getting ahead of inflation and that you can – stay ahead of inflation while still putting more money in people’s pockets,” he told Times Radio.

“I think it’s a false premise to argue that you can’t deal with inflation while ensuring that everyone is getting better at the same time.”

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