Rishi Sunak accused of reversing tax cut

Rishi Sunak has been accused of making a tax turnaround after promising to cut VAT on energy bills if he becomes prime minister.

On Tuesday, the former Chancellor unveiled a new “winter plan” to tackle inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, which his campaign team says stands in contrast to the £55bn inflationary fiscal commitments Liz Truss has made. took on.

Conservative leadership plans to remove VAT from household energy bills for a year if the price cap – currently just under £2,000 a year for an average home – exceeds £3,000, as predicted by experts.

The announcement, however, was immediately criticized, with supporters of his rival and opposition lawmakers accusing him of carrying out a U-turn.

Since the contest began, Sunak has repeatedly accused Truss of offering unfunded tax cuts, and in February he rejected requests for VAT cuts on energy bills, telling Commons that “there would be no guarantee that suppliers would pass discounts on to everyone.” the clients”.

Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson (Workington), who supports Truss as leader, wrote on Twitter: “It’s great to see Rishi Sunak now looking to cut VAT on energy bills after denouncing so many of us who have been asking for it for months.

“Up until this point, he’s been saying the tax cuts are ‘irresponsible’ and ‘fairytale economics’.”

Meanwhile, Treasury Minister Pat McFadden accused him of “acting as his own personal rebuttal unit” and Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney said “this sounds like another Sunak Swindle”.

    (PA wire)

(PA wire)

The former Chancellor said of his proposals: “As Chancellor I have knocked £400 off everyone’s energy bill and given £1,200 support to the most vulnerable families.

“This additional VAT cut will help to deal with the current emergency.

“I will also begin to undertake major supply-side reforms that address the increasing cost pressures that households are facing.

“That means urgently taking more people off welfare and working and tackling the supply chain crisis.”

The VAT turnaround wasn’t the only one Sunak has been accused of, however, with Therese Coffey, Secretary for Work and Pensions, saying he had blocked his plans to help people on benefits get better jobs by increasing the number of hours that they have to work.

To see: Sunak and Truss clash over taxes and NHS funding

As part of his proposals, Sunak would expand the workforce by tightening rules on unemployment benefits, doubling the number of hours someone on welfare has to work per week to avoid having to look for a full-time job.

Coffey, who is supporting Truss, said: “DWP will soon change the rules to ensure people keep looking for extra work until they have at least 12 hours a week, with the ambition to increase this in the future.

“DWP had hoped to start this earlier this year, but unfortunately it was blocked by the former Chancellor.”

Sunak said he would also work with the UK’s biggest importers to increase trade with Dutch and Danish ports, ending the shortage causing disruption leading to price increases.

Her “winter plan” appears to be an attempt to fight Truss, whose promises of tax cuts have helped her outperform in opinion polls and membership polls.

During Tuesday night’s TalkTV/Sun debate, which was interrupted after presenter Kate McCann passed out live, Truss said it was “morally wrong” to raise taxes during a cost-of-living crisis, but the former chancellor reacted by saying that. it was “morally wrong” to accumulate more debt on future generations.

The Foreign Secretary said: “What has happened is that the tax has been raised on families through national insurance so that they have to pay more money to the Treasury.

“I think it’s morally wrong at this time, when families are struggling to pay for food, that we put taxes on ordinary people when we said we wouldn’t in our manifesto and when we didn’t have to.”

Interjecting, Sunak said, “What is morally wrong is asking our children and grandchildren to foot the bill for bills that we are not prepared to pay.”

The two also clashed over the increase in national insurance, brought in to help pay for the NHS and welfare.

The former chancellor described himself as “courageous” for introducing the £12bn tax hike to pay for social health care, telling the debate: care they needed and get it done as quickly as possible.

“It was not an easy thing for me to do, I got a lot of criticism for it but I believe it was the right thing to do as I don’t think we can have an NHS that is ultimately number one in the country. public service priority that is underfunded and unable to provide the care it needs.

TalkTV apologized to viewers for not resuming the show, which was taken off the air halfway through, saying in a statement: “Kate McCann passed out on air tonight and while she is fine, medical advice was that we should not continue. with the debate”.

McCann, political editor at TalkTV, was supposed to co-host The Sun’s Showdown: The Fight for No.10 alongside The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole, but he tested positive for Covid-19 hours before the show aired.

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