Tory leadership hopefuls are criticised for not doing enough to ease cost of living despite Liz Truss’ vow to scrap rival Rishi Sunak’s NI rise… as Labour analysis shows pensioners will spend a fifth of their outgoings on energy bills this winter
- Ms Truss would use an emergency Budget to reverse the national insurance hike
- It was said she would do it in April, but team says it could be scrapped in weeks
- Mr Sunak’s team warn it would boost earnings of full-time workers by just £59
- Comes as they both face criticism over ‘inadequate’ plan to fight spiralling costs
Liz Truss yesterday vowed to cut taxes ‘immediately’ if she becomes prime minister to help families struggling with the cost of living.
The Tory leadership favourite would use an emergency Budget next month to reverse the national insurance hike brought in by former chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this year.
It was thought she would spike the hike in April, but her campaign team now believes it could be scrapped within weeks of taking office.
Mr Sunak’s campaign team warned the move would boost the earnings of full-time workers on the national living wage by just £59.
Both leadership contenders yesterday faced criticism that they had ‘inadequate’ plans to deal with the spiralling costs.
Miss Truss was also accused of performing another U-turn over remarks last week when she insisted tax cuts, not ‘handouts’, would help families with rocketing fuel bills this winter.
Liz Truss speaks at an event as a part of the campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister at the stadium of Solihull Moors FC on Saturday
Leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak pictured during his first visit to Scotland as part of his Tory election campaign
Foreign Secretary Ms Truss watching the athletics during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday
Ms Truss pictured at an event at Solihull Moors FC as part of her Tory leadership campaign
Ms Truss arrives to give a speech as part of her Tory leadership campaign in Birmingham on Saturday
Penny Mordaunt, one of her supporters, said there had been a ‘misrepresentation’ of the Foreign Secretary’s comments.
Lord Howell, who served as energy secretary under Margaret Thatcher, said the candidates’ plans to help people with the rising cost of living were ‘completely inadequate’.
‘They are not addressing the horror that is going paralyse the lives of a vast number of families in this country,’ he told LBC.
Trade minister Miss Mordaunt denied Miss Truss was against giving people extra help with their bills after the leadership hopeful said in an interview on Friday: ‘The way I would do things is in a Conservative way of lowering the tax burden, not giving out handouts.’
Miss Mordaunt said: ‘It’s not that she’s ruling out all future help – that’s a misinterpretation of what she said. What she is looking at, though, is enabling people to keep more of the money that they earn.’
A spokesman for Mr Sunak said last night: ‘Liz Truss needs to explain to the millions of people worried about rising bills in the autumn whether she stands by the statement she gave [on] Friday ruling out further support payments or has now changed her mind and is willing to consider them.’
Former Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden, who is supporting Mr Sunak, labelled Miss Truss’s proposed tax cuts ‘insufficient’.
He told BBC News: ‘You’re going to see energy bills going up to almost £4,000 and if you look at the idea of the tax cuts, this idea of reversing the national insurance contributions – that’s only going to benefit someone working full time on the national living wage by less than £60. Contrast that with whoever the prime minister is, they’re going to get a benefit of about £1,800.’
An ally of Miss Truss said: ‘There’s a seriously awful irony that Rishi has moved from saying offering immediate help on cost of living was “fairytales” to now saying he’ll offer billions and criticising Liz on it. Serious shapeshifter stuff.’
The Foreign Secretary yesterday vowed to cut taxes ‘immediately’ if she becomes prime minister
Ms Truss (pictured posing for a selfie on the campaign trail on Saturday) would use an emergency Budget next month to reverse the national insurance hike
Mr Sunak’s campaign team warned the move would boost the earnings of full-time workers on the national living wage by just £59
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.