Liz Truss vows there’ll be ‘no new taxes’ if she becomes PM and rules out another windfall levy on oil and gas giants – as Tory leadership favourite insists there’ll be no energy rationing in Britain this winter
- Liz Truss vows there would be ‘no new taxes’ if she becomes prime minister
- Foreign Secretary also rules out another windfall tax on oil and gas companies
- Rishi Sunak defends his time as chancellor and doesn’t rule out energy rationing
Tory leadership favourite Liz Truss tonight vowed – if she becomes prime minister next week – there would be ‘no new taxes’ under her government.
The Foreign Secretary, who has frequently criticised the current tax burden on Britons, repeated her pledge to slash green levies on energy bills and reverse the rise in National Insurance.
But, speaking this evening at the final hustings event in the Tory leadership campaign, she also went further by promising not to introduce any fresh levies should she replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street.
Ms Truss has used the last six weeks to try and draw a distinction between herself and her rival Rishi Sunak on tax.
She has taken a series of swipes at the former chancellor after the tax burden rose to its highest level in 70 years during his time in charge of the Treasury.
Further dividing lines were drawn between Ms Truss and Mr Sunak tonight.
The Foreign Secretary ruled out another windfall tax on oil and gas giants as they enjoy bumper profits during the energy crisis.
And she also insisted there would be no energy rationing in Britain should she become PM.
By contrast, Mr Sunak defended the windfall tax on energy companies he introduced earlier this year, which is being used to part-fund existing Government support for households during the cost-of-living crisis.
He also did not rule out energy rationing this winter due to the ‘significant’ crisis being faced across Europe.
Elsewhere at tonight’s hustings:
- Ms Truss stressed she would work with whoever is US President – including if Donald Trump returns to the White House – in order to combat an ‘assertive China’ and a ‘belligerent Russia’;
- The Foreign Secretary insisted she would not have time to ‘think about the wallpaper or flooring’ in Downing Street when she was asked if she would keep Mr Johnson’s controversial redecoration;
- She vowed to end smart motorways, telling Tory members the ‘experiement hasn’t worked’. Ms Truss also said she was ‘prepared to look at’ current speed limits on motorways and whether they should be advisory;
- Mr Sunak offered a ‘guarantee’ that inflation would fall faster with his economic plan than Ms Truss’s;
- In a conciliatory move at the end of the divisive Tory leadership contest, the ex-chancellor heaped praise on ‘fantastic’ Ms Truss as he revealed their ‘shared love for Whitney Houston and Taylor Swift’.
Liz Truss tonight promised not to introduce any fresh levies should she replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street
Rishi Sunak defended the winfall tax on energy companies he introduced earlier this year and did not rule out energy rationing this winter
Ms Truss made her pledge not to introduce any new taxes when she was challenged to repeat a promise made by Mr Johnson prior to the 2019 general election.
‘Yes, no new taxes,’ she told Tory members at tonight’s hustings event at London’s Wembley Arena.
Labour last year used Mr Johnson’s tax promise from 2019 – in which he vowed not to increase income tax, VAT or National Insurance – to attack the Tories when a National Insurance rise was announced by the PM and Mr Sunak last year.
Ms Truss, who is widely expected to beat Mr Sunak to the Tory leadership, tonight gave another strong indication she would provide further support for households struggling with soaring energy bills.
Having previously promised an ’emergency budget’ to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, the Foreign Secretary said: ‘In a fiscal event, the chancellor would address the issue of household support.’
Ms Truss also revealed she would be ‘looking to act’ on uncapped energy bills for businesses, which are fuelling runaway inflation rates.
‘You’ll have heard me talking about supply of energy and that’s why I think dealing with supply is the answer to this problem,’ she said.
‘It’s not just a problem for people, it’s a problem for businesses with high energy costs.
‘So, I will be looking across the board to make sure we’re increasing supply and therefore dealing with the root cause of the issue rather than just putting a sticking plaster on.
‘But I would absolutely be looking to act on business energy costs.’
Despite recent reports she could cut VAT by five per cent across the board, the Foreign Secretary refused to give details on whether such a measure would be part of her emergency fiscal action.
Quizzed on whether she could rule out energy rationing occurring in Britain – after the French government this week warned it could be a possibility this winter – Ms Truss said: ‘I do rule that out.’
Mr Sunak refused to make such a pledge on energy rationing, while he insisted he was ‘glad’ to have put in place the windfall tax on oil and gas profits.
‘I introduced the windfall tax as chancellor and I am glad that I did, because it was the right thing to do,’ he said.
‘I don’t actually know if Liz supports it or doesn’t support it.
‘But I think it is absolutely the right thing at a time when energy companies are making millions of pounds of profits because of a war.
‘That is not right and we should exceptionally tax those and help with those people’s bills.’
Asked about the possibility of energy rationing, Mr Sunak added: ‘We shouldn’t rule anything out because the challenges that we face with this crisis are significant.
‘That is a sensible thing for us to be doing as a country.’
Tonight’s event at London’s Wembley Arena was the final hustings of the leadership battle between Ms Truss and Mr Sunak
The ballot of Tory members to choose between the Foreign Secretary or former Chancellor as Boris Johnson’s replacement will close at 5pm on Friday
Ms Truss or Mr Sunak will be formally appointed as PM next Tuesday. Mr Johnson and his successor will travel to Balmoral to see the Queen – rather than Buckingham Palace as has been traditional during her 70-year reign
Tonight’s event at London’s Wembley Arena was the final hustings of the leadership battle between Ms Truss and Mr Sunak.
The ballot of Tory members to choose between the Foreign Secretary or former Chancellor as Boris Johnson’s replacement will close at 5pm on Friday.
The result is then set to be announced at a Westminster venue at 12.30pm on Monday – the first day MPs return to Parliament after their summer break.
Ms Truss or Mr Sunak will then be formally appointed as PM the following day.
Mr Johnson and his successor will travel to Balmoral to see the Queen – rather than Buckingham Palace as has been traditional during her 70-year reign.
This is in order to avoid having to make any last-minute alternative arrangements if Her Majesty were to be suffering from mobility issues on the day.
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