Rishi Sunak's VAT plans discussed by Tom Harwood
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The former Chancellor has attempted to paint himself as a China “hawk” in the ongoing race to be next Tory leader and Prime Minister. He has argued the Chinese Communist Party represents the “largest threat to British and the world’s security and prosperity this century”.
So serious does Mr Sunak claim to view the threat that he has laid out a five-point plan to tackle China’s power.
This, he said, would include expanding MI5’s reach “to provide greater support to British businesses and universities to counter Chinese industrial espionage”.
But a new Treasury document has suggested Mr Sunak was, in his former post, actually looking to “deepen trade links” with Beijing.
Under his watch, the Treasury was hoping to make the UK the “Markey of choice” for Chinese companies, according to the Times.
The leaked document read: “Both the UK and China, as outward-looking global trading nations, support a modern, comprehensive trading relationship fit for the 21st century…
“The UK and China continue to encourage our financial companies to deepen collaboration further, continue investment in each other’s jurisdictions, and continue to deepen trade links…
“China recognises the unparalleled depth and liquidity of London’s capital markets, and the opportunities this presents for innovative and diverse capital financing.
“To that end, China agrees to support Chinese financial, quasi-sovereign, and sovereign institutions to raise offshore multi-currency finance in London, recognising the UK as the market of choice when raising international finance.”
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The draft paper is 47 pages long.
It is said to include details of potential “policy outcomes” in more than 20 areas.
The document was the product of months of talks between London and Beijing, according to the Times.
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The paper adds that a new economic agreement with China was close to being signed.
It also notes that the document contains no mention of China’s treatment of the Uighur people, which has been described as genocide.
A number of commentators online have suggested the news is a massive score for leadership rival Liz Truss.
But the former Chancellor has dismissed any claim the leaked document discredits his anti-China rhetoric.
A spokesperson for Mr Sunak’s campaign said: “Rishi cancelled the EFD because of the threat China poses to our national security.
“This was a longstanding event that the Treasury was planning for as usual but Rishi stepped in to stop the work on it.”
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