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Truss promises tax cuts are not ‘hands-on’ to solve cost-of-living crisis

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Liz Truss has said that she will help people during the cost of living crisis by reducing taxes, not giving “hands out”.

The hopeful Tory leadership was asked if she would help more with soaring fuel bills this winter if she became the next prime minister.

The secretary of state told the Financial Times she would of course “see what can be done” but said she would do things in a “Conservative” way.

Ms. Truss rejected the idea of ​​”handouts,” promising instead to implement tax cuts.

She told the publication: “Of course, I will look at what can be done. But the way I would do it is the Conservative way to reduce the tax burden, not handing out documents. “

Her comments go against the backdrop of growing seriousness.

This week, energy consultancy Auxilione said the Government’s price cap, which regulates bills for more than 20 million UK households, could reach almost £4,000 a year from January.

New analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also shows that almost half (44%) of UK adults paying their energy bills find it very difficult or somewhat difficult to buy them in two years. last week of July.

We could create Britain’s version of Silicon Valley. We can create real opportunities

The Bank of England on Thursday warned the UK faces two years of falling household incomes, with inflation likely to soar to more than 13% and the economy set to return to its longest recession since. from the financial crisis.

At the Tory leadership meeting in Eastbourne, Sussex, on Friday night, Ms Truss proposed an immediate tax cut plan that could stave off a recession.

So far, the Secretary of State has pledged to stop “green taxation” on energy bills, reverse the increase in national insurance and cancel the planned corporate tax increase.

She told the Tory members: “I know there are tough forecasts out there but forecasting is not destiny. And what we shouldn’t do is call ourselves into a recession. We should keep taxes low.

“We could create a British version of Silicon Valley. We can create real opportunities.”

However, her opponent, Rishi Sunak, argues that unless inflation is brought under control, there is “no hope” the Tories will win the next election.

Liz Truss during her temporary stay in Eastbourne (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA wire)

Taking a swipe at his rival, Mr Sunak told the crowd he was “particularly worried about policies that risk making it (inflation) worse and last longer”.

The former prime minister said: “Well, the first thing we need to do to make sure we can win the election is to get over this inflation problem.

“And that is why I am especially worried about policies that risk making it worse and lasting longer.

“Because this is a problem not just for this winter. That’s also a problem for next winter, and beyond.

I don’t want to stick with the failed policies of the past. That’s what some are suggesting. It doesn’t work.

“Because as the Bank of England said, they are worried about inflation rising – so there is no hope that we will win the next election. Absolutely not. It’s as simple as that.”

He also stressed that corporate tax is not the “right tax” to focus on, instead talking about the need for business tax reform to “cut them on the things that make a difference.” “.

“I don’t want to stick with the failed policies of the past,” Mr. Sunak said. That’s what some are suggesting. It didn’t work. “

He added: “Invest in this economy today, no better than a decade ago, even though we did all that in terms of corporate taxes.

“Because that’s not the right tax to focus on. And that’s where my experience in business, my time as a principal, my conversations with business, led me to the conclusion that we need to be much more radical.

“We need business tax reform to cut the things that make a difference.”

On Friday evening, the Foreign Secretary received the backing of two former Conservative Party ministers, Nus Ghani and Dame Andrea Leadsom.

Ms Ghani told Tory members in Eastbourne that because she acted as vice chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs, she had not been able to support a candidate until this stage of the election. race.

Dame Andrea, who was Penny Mordaunt’s campaign director and business secretary, wrote in the Telegraph that Ms Truss would ensure that “every child gets the best start in life”.

Rishi Sunak in the hustings event (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA wire)

When she attends the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later, the Secretary of State is expected to roll out a series of economic reforms that her campaign team claims will “boost regional growth”. by looking at funding to enhance the right kind of investment”.

Some of the reforms include a review of the upgrade formula to overcome the lack of investment in regional infrastructure and the creation of “investment zones” or “full-fat free zones” with a low taxes, low regulation on grassland areas.

However, a campaign spokesman for Mr Sunak accused Ms Truss’ team of “copying and pasting” the policies the former prime minister had put in place.

“Not only are Team Truss’ copy and paste policies put in place by Rishi himself, but they are also re-publishing two-year-old government policies,” the spokesperson said.

“Imitation is the best form of flattery, as they say.”

Mr. Sunak’s camp argued the “investment zones” were simply a copy and paste of the liberal funds he pioneered as prime minister and that Ms Truss’s plan to reconsider public The upgrade was made almost two years after he revamped it.

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Mike Fahey

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