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Tory frontrunner Liz Truss under pressure over help on cost of living

Tory leaders’ favorite Liz Truss is under pressure to pledge more aid this fall to poor households facing a crushing cost of living crisis after she expressed her preference for tax cuts over “manual income”. outs”.

Both Truss, Secretary of State, and her rival Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, have been urged to explain how they would help households through the worst income pressures in more than 60 years and a “financial time bomb” ready to explode. in the fall.

But Truss, the frontrunner to become Britain’s next prime minister, is under the most pressure after she told the Financial Times last week she would “look at what more can be done”, but added: ” The way I would do things is in a conservative way of lowering the tax burden, not handing out alms.”

Her ally Penny Mordaunt told Sky News on Sunday that Truss’ comments had been “misinterpreted” and that Truss would look at a range of measures to help poor households, alongside plans to reverse a £13 billion increase in national insurance. to make. “She doesn’t rule out all future help,” she said.

Truss said she would scrap the 1.25 percentage point NI rate hike – introduced by Sunak – in an emergency budget expected in September. She wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “We could put more money in the pockets of hard-working people without delay.”

But Sunak’s allies claimed it would take several months to put in place the technical measures needed to implement the change, leaving many households facing a money crisis when a new energy price cap – potentially more than £4,000 – is set in October. is applied.

The former chancellor’s team also says cutting NI rates would not help the poorest and most of the benefits would accrue to higher income earners. “Her tax cut will not hit the sides for most families, who need the most help,” said a Sunak ally.

Rishi Sunak at an event in Edinburgh
Rishi Sunak campaigns in Edinburgh to become Conservative leader and next Prime Minister © PA

Sunak’s team said a person working full-time on the national minimum wage would save £59 a year, while a person with an average income of £26,000 would save £170. A person making £100,000 would save more than £1,000.

Oliver Dowden, a former government minister and a supporter of Sunak, said Truss’ tax cuts were “not suited to the scale of the challenge we face”. Mordaunt insisted Truss had never ruled out coming up with a much broader package of support.

Meanwhile, Sunak said he would? “Continue” then the £1,200 he had already set aside for vulnerable households as chancellor once it was clear how high the domestic fuel bill would rise; but he was criticized for not providing more details.

The former chancellor has promised to cut an average of £160 on bills by temporarily removing VAT. But that’s much smaller than the £2,000 that could lift the £1,971 price cap set by the energy regulator in April in October.

Gordon Brown, the former Labor Prime Minister, said Boris Johnson should schedule a meeting with Truss and Sunak to deliver an emergency budget now. “The reality is stark and undeniable: in October, a financial time bomb will explode for families,” he said. wrote in the Observer.

He added: “There is nothing moral about indifferent leaders condemning millions of vulnerable and blameless children and retirees to a winter of abject poverty.”

Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation think tank, said: “Income tax cuts will make little or no difference to lower-income households, so whoever becomes prime minister will have to do that.” [offer] direct help through the benefit system or directly through lower bills.”

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