Truss and Sunak at war over cost-of-living: Sunak accuses rival of ‘starry-eyed boosterism’ as poll reveals just 17 per cent of voters want her immediate tax cuts with two thirds say tackling soaring inflation is more important
- Truss pledged to cut National Insurance and green taxes within days of winning
- Sunak said it was a ‘bung’ for big firms, with most vulnerable left ‘out in the cold’
- New poll found 17% of voters think tax cuts more important than inflation control
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have clashed over the cost-of-living crisis amid signs that the public want the new Tory PM to get a grip on runaway inflation before handing out tax cuts.
The Foreign Secretary, who is the favourite to enter No10 in four weeks’ time, was slammed by her rival after she pledged to cut National Insurance and green levies on bills within days of taking power.
Writing in the Sun he accused her of ‘starry-eyes boosterism’, having said he will only cut taxes once inflation is under control. But her camp hit back, calling him the ‘founding father of a recession’.
In a shock warning last week the Bank of England warned prices could rise 13 per cent this year, having previously warned of an 11 per cent increase.
Mr Sunak said: ‘Liz’s plan to deal with that is to give a big bung to large businesses and the well-off, leaving those who most need help out in the cold.’
A new poll by YouGov for the Times today found that two-thirds (64 per cent) of voters believe inflation should be the new PM’s main priority. Just 17 per cent said they should focus on tax cuts.
Meanwhile former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis today defended Ms Truss for suggesting there would be no ‘handouts’ for families amid spiralling bills and prices on the high street.
The Foreign Secretary, who is the favourite to enter No10 in four weeks’ time, was slammed by her rival after she pledged to cut National Insurance and green levies on bills within days of taking power,
Writing in the Sun he accused her of ‘starry-eyes boosterism’, having said he will only cut taxes once inflation is under control. But her camp it back, calling him the ‘founding father of a recession’.
Ms Truss at the weekend told the Financial Times: ‘The way I would do things is in a Conservative way of lowering the tax burden, not giving out handouts’.
Speaking about her comments, Mr Lewis, who backs her campaign, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We will look to do whatever we can to help people – that’s what an emergency budget is about.
‘She’s (Ms Truss) willing to do more to help people but her focus is around doing it in a way that puts more money in people’s pockets, creating a high-growth economy with higher wages, more people in work.
‘So rather than having handouts, what we do is have a low-tax economy that’s driving growth and therefore with people having more money in their pockets, they’re better placed to deal with some of the challenges that we see.’
Former Conservative Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden, who backs Mr Sunak, said ‘there is no doubt that we do need an intervention of a considerable scale’ amid the rising cost of living.
He told Sky News: ‘Well these things don’t necessarily have to be done through an emergency budget. So if you look at the £1,200 that was announced earlier this, that wasn’t through an emergency budget, but I think there is no doubt that we do need an intervention of a considerable scale to deal with this, because we have to be honest with people about the scale of the challenge that they are facing.’
On the energy price cap, he added: ‘Let’s see when we know the exact level of the price cap, but if it looks like it’s going to be at that kind of scale then of course we’ll need further intervention.’
He added: ‘Rishi Sunak accepts the need for these bold, big interventions. Liz Truss has put her emphasis on this tax cut.’
On funding distribution, he said: ‘It needs to be in the most needing places and that doesn’t just have to be in urban, inner city areas, and I see that my own constituency.’
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown called for Boris Johnson, Mr Sunak and Miss Truss to agree to emergency measures ‘this week’.
The former prime minister said: ‘The Prime Minister is on holiday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is on holiday, and the two leadership candidates for prime minister are on the campaign trail.
‘At the centre of government, not enough thinking is being done about the major social crisis.’
It came as a Labour analysis showed that £1 in every £5 spent by Britain’s pensioners will go on energy bills this winter.
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