Liz Truss has said she would help people struggling with the cost of living crisis by cutting taxes and not giving ‘handouts’.
The hopeful Tory leadership was asked if they would offer more help with rising fuel bills this winter if they become the next prime minister.
The foreign secretary told the Financial Times she would of course “look at what else can be done” but said she would go about things “in a conservative way”.
Ms Truss dismissed the idea of handing out “handouts” and vowed to implement tax cuts instead.
She told the publication: “Of course I will look into what else can be done. But the way I would do things is a conservative way of lowering the tax burden and not handing out handouts.”
Her comments come against a background that is getting more blatant by the day.
This week, energy consultancy Auxilione said the government’s price cap, which sets bills for more than 20 million households in Britain, could reach nearly £4,000 a year from January.
A new analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also shows that almost half (44%) of UK adults paying energy bills found it very or somewhat difficult to afford them in the last two weeks of July.
We can create the British version of Silicon Valley. We can create real opportunitiesLiz Truss
The Bank of England warned Thursday Britain faces two years of falling household incomes, with inflation rising to over 13% and the economy falling back into the longest recession since the financial crisis.
Speaking at a Tory leadership meeting in Eastbourne, Sussex on Friday night, Ms Truss suggested her plans for immediate tax cuts could avert a recession.
So far, the Secretary of State has promised to halt “green taxes” on energy bills, reverse the national insurance hike and scrap planned corporate tax hikes.
She told Tory members: “I know there are difficult forecasts out there, but forecasts are not destiny. And what we shouldn’t do is talk ourselves into a recession. We should keep taxes low.
“We can create the British version of Silicon Valley. We can create real opportunities.”
However, her rival Rishi Sunak argued that unless inflation is brought under control, there is “no hope” that the Tories will win the next election.
Mr Sunak slapped his opponent thinly and told the Hustings he was “particularly concerned about the policy, which risks making it (inflation) worse and lasting longer”.
The former Chancellor said: “Well, the first thing we have to do to make sure we can win this election is to have this inflation problem out of the way by then.
“That’s why I’m particularly concerned about policies that risk making it worse and lasting longer.
“Because this is a problem that does not only affect this winter. It’s also a problem for next winter and beyond.
I don’t want to cling to the failed policies of the past. That’s what some people suggest. It did not work.Rishi Sunak
“Because as the Bank of England has said, they are worried that inflation will take hold – then there is no hope that we will win the next election. Absolutely none. As simple as that.”
He also insisted that corporate tax is not the “right tax” to focus on, speaking of the need to reform corporate taxes to “lower them to the things that make a difference.”
Mr Sunak said: “I don’t want to cling to the failed policies of the past. That’s what some people suggest. It did not work.”
He added: “Investing in this economy is no better today than it was a decade ago, even though we do all these corporate tax-related things.
“Because it’s not the right tax to focus on. And that’s where my experience in business, my time as chancellor, my talks with business have led me to the conclusion that we need to become much more radical.
“We need to reform corporate taxes to lower them to the things that make a difference.”
On Friday evening, the foreign secretary received support from two Conservative former ministers, Nus Ghani and Dame Andrea Leadsom.
Ms Ghani told Tory members in Eastbourne that her role as Deputy Chair of the 1922 Backbench Conservative MPs Committee meant she was unable to back any candidate up until this stage in the race.
Dame Andrea, who served as Penny Mordaunt’s campaign manager and business secretary, wrote in the Telegraph that Mrs Truss would ensure “every baby gets the best start in life”.
Later, attending the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the Foreign Secretary is expected to unveil a range of economic reforms that her campaign team claim will “encourage regional growth by reviewing funding to get the right kind.” to encourage investment”.
Some of the reforms include revising the leveling formula to address underinvestment in regional infrastructure and creating low-tax, light-regulation “investment zones” or “full free ports” on brownfield sites.
However, a campaign spokesman for Mr Sunak accused Ms Truss’s team of the “copy and paste” policy that the former chancellor had already put in place.
The spokesman said: “Not only were the Team Truss copy and paste policies introduced by Rishi himself, but they also re-announce two-year-old government policies.
“Imitation is the best form of flattery, as the saying goes.”
Mr Sunak’s camp argued that “investment zones” are simply a copy and paste of the free ports he promoted as chancellor and that Ms Truss’ plan to review the alignment formula comes nearly two years after his reform.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/truss-promises-tax-cuts-not-handouts-to-tackle-cost-of-living-crisis-41893400.html Truss promises tax cuts not ‘handouts’ to tackle cost-of-living crisis