iz Truss has defended her plans to tackle the cost of living crisis and warned there is a “real danger of us talking ourselves into a recession”, during the latest hustings.
As the two continue to pitch their credentials to party members, Ms Truss said one of her first priorities as prime minister would be to “rebuild the economy” while warning against “taking money off people in taxes and then giving it back as benefits”.
Asked if she would consider handing more money to the public to help ease the blow of surging energy costs, Ms Truss refused to rule out further measures, but said “my first preference is always to reduce taxes” and ruled out a further windfall tax on energy firms when asked by the audience.
As pressure builds on the Government to act, Ms Truss warned there is a “real danger of us talking ourselves into a recession”, before adding: “My tax cuts will cost £30 billion. That is affordable within our current budget. I am afraid to say the plans of raising taxes are likely to lead to a recession.”
She added: “If the answer to every question is raising tax, we will choke off economic growth, and we will send ourselves to penury, and I think that’s a massive problem.”
In contrast, Mr Sunak attacked his rival for tax her cut plan, warning that the large elements of Ms Truss’ plan would not help the vulnerable.
He said: “He told a leadership hustings in Cheltenham: “No tax cut, and Liz’s tax plan, is not going to help those groups of people.
“So scrapping the health and social care levy, as she wants to do, is worth £1,700 to her on her salary.
“For someone working really hard on the national living wage, it’s worth just over a quid a week. And for someone who’s a pensioner, without any earnings, it’s worth zero. Now I want to provide direct support to those groups of people.”
Indeed, the former Chancellor said he would provide “direct support for those groups of people” who need it.
Mr Sunak also warned that if elected, Ms Truss’ tax cut plan could leave millions of incredibly vulnerable people at the risk of real destitution”.
“I think that is a moral failure,” he said.