Rishi Sunak has launched a fresh attack on leadership rival Liz Truss, saying today that her plan to make tax cuts next month won’t “touch the sides” for families facing a worsening cost of living crisis.
Sunak said “bolder action” was required to “protect people from the worst of the winter” amid fresh predictions energy bills could double by January.
The ex-chancellor said yesterday that he would offer more emergency payments for Brits struggling to pay energy bills throughout autumn and winter.
It would come after the government gave every Brit between £600 and £1,200, partly funded by a windfall tax on energy suppliers, earlier this year to combat spiralling energy bills.
Truss said over the weekend that she favoured tax cuts over “giveaways” to help people with the cost of living crisis, however her ally Penny Mordaunt yesterday suggested she had not ruled out emergency payments.
Writing in The Sun, Sunak said: “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.”
“We need clear-eyed realism, not starry-eyed boosterism.”
He told The Times yesterday that he would “look at doing more and particularly for families like pensioners, for example, where I said that this winter they can get an extra payment worth up to £300″.
Truss, if victorious in the leadership race, will overturn this year’s increase in National Insurance in an emergency budget next month.
She will also cancel a planned increase in Corporation Tax for the UK’s largest businesses.
Northern Ireland secretary and Truss supporter Brandon Lewis today told the BBC: “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.
There are warnings the energy price cap will exceed £4,000 by January, after it was £1,277 at the start of this year.
This has triggered a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience from activist group Don’t Pay UK, which has attracted tens of thousands of signatures.
They are calling on households to boycott their energy bills this winter, in a move inspired by community resistance to the so-called Poll Tax.
At the weekend, Ofgem boss Jonathan Brearley warned Brits against not paying their bills, revealing that the move would hike prices for everyone and worsen people’s financial woes.