Highlights

  • Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss debate over cost-of-living crisis in UK
  • Truss proposes cutting taxes immediately if elected
  • While Sunak wants to control inflation before slashing taxes

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UK PM race: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss feel heat over cost-of-living crisis

The issue of inflation and how best to curb it has emerged as the main battle line in the race to 10 Downing Street, with both candidates offering different approaches

The race to elect a new Conservative Party leader, who will take charge as British Prime Minister early next month, heated up on Monday as the two finalists – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – clashed over their proposals to tackle the soaring cost-of-living crisis across the country.

The issue of inflation and how best to curb it has emerged as the main battle line in the race to 10 Downing Street, with both candidates offering different approaches. While Truss has pledged immediate tax cuts if elected, Sunak has promised more targeted support for the most vulnerable households and tax cuts further down the line.

A fresh row brewed out over the weekend after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told ‘The Financial Times’ that her plan to lower taxes rather than offer handouts was more Conservative. This prompted an immediate rebuke from former Chancellor Rishi Sunak that it is "simply wrong to rule out further direct support" for struggling families this winter.

“Families are facing a long, hard winter with rising bills. Yet 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,” Sunak writes in ‘The Sun’.

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“Worse still, she has said she will not provide direct support payments to those who are feeling the pinch most. We need clear-eyed realism, not starry-eyed boosterism. That means bolder action to protect people from the worst of the winter. I have the right plan and experience to help people through,” he said.

Supporters of Truss hit back to say her remarks over the weekend had been “misinterpreted”.

"What she has, I think, rightly challenged is the wisdom of taking large sums of money out of people's pockets in tax and then giving some of that back in ever more complicated ways," said Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, a supporter of the Foreign Secretary.

"She's 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," added Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, another Truss supporter.

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