Truss tax plans an 'electoral suicide note' for the Tories, says deputy PM

·4-min read
Truss tax plans an 'electoral suicide note' for the Tories, says deputy PM
Truss tax plans an 'electoral suicide note' for the Tories, says deputy PM

LIZ Truss’s tax-cutting plans are “bad politics” and risk being an “electoral suicide note” for the Tories if she becomes Prime Minister, the current deputy PM has warned.

In an excoriating attack on the frontrunner in the Tory leadership race, Dominic Raab said a Truss premiership could see the Tories “cast into the impotent oblivion of opposition”.

Mr Raab, who wants former Chancellor Rishi Sunak to replace Boris Johnson in Number 10, said Ms Truss’s “limited” cost of living plans would “do little” for the most vulnerable.

The row over the cost of living plans coincided with analysts forecasting the average annual energy bill for UK homes could rise to £4,200 in January.

Ms Truss said at the weekend she wanted to help people get through the winter with tax cuts, not handouts”, provoking a backlash from opposition parties and the Sunak camp.

READ MORE: Scots could see energy bills more than double this winter in grave new cost of living crisis forecast

Critics pointed out the unfunded £30billion of national insurance and corporation tax cuts would not help the poorest, as they do not pay tax.

Ms Truss’s plan for a moratorium on green levies on energy bills would also be dwarfed by the unprecedented rise in bills.

With the Bank of England forecasting inflation above 13 per cent and a 15-month recession imminent, Mr Sunak said his rival’s measures wouldn’t “touch the sides” of the crisis.

Ms Truss’s supporters have since backtracked, saying she has not ruled out more direct support for households with runaway bills.

The issue is expected to dominate the latest Tory hustings in the red wall seat of Darlington this evening.

Writing in the Times, Mr Raab said: “As Conservative Party members decide which way to cast their vote over the coming weeks, I urge them to consider this point carefully.

“If we go to the country in September with an emergency budget that fails to measure up to the task in hand, voters will not forgive us as they see their living standards eroded and the financial security they cherish disappear before their eyes.

“Such a failure will read unmistakenly to the public like an electoral suicide note and, as sure as night follows day, see our great party cast into the impotent oblivion of opposition.

“That’s the prize and that’s the jeopardy.

“If we make the right choices this autumn, our Conservative government can show, once again, that we have what it takes to lead the country through difficult times to a better future.

“Equally, the wrong move could prove economically harmful, and politically fatal.

“A response to the challenges people are facing that stops at limited tax cuts, which do little for the most vulnerable, isn’t Conservative politics. It’s bad politics.

“It will open the door of No 10 to Sir Keir Starmer, backed by the Lib Dems and the SNP — putting Brexit and the Union at risk, and ending the opportunity to make the 2020s a decade of low taxes and high growth.”

READ MORE: Baroness Davidson has said Liz Truss will beat Rishi Sunak to become Prime Minister

Mr Sunak has said Ms Truss’s plan depends on more Government borrowing, which would increase inflation even more, leading to higher interest rates and mortgage bills.

He has said his aim is to keep any one-off borrowing to an “absolute minimum” by seeking “efficiency savings” across Government departments.

His team said the approach aimed to replicate measures used to fund support for Ukraine. Departments and devolved administrations were asked to find underspends from  capital budgets, which involves money spent on investment and things used to create future growth.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss used an interview in the Daily Express to hit back at suggestions from Mr Sunak that her “starry-eyed boosterism” would not help the country resolve its problems.

She said: “I’m not making any comments about other candidates in the race but the fact is there are too many people in the establishment of this country who want to talk our country down.”

Ms Truss also suggested the Treasury failed to focus enough on growth during Mr Sunak’s time as chancellor.

She said: “Frankly, there’s been too much Treasury orthodoxy and whether it’s on making sure investment is fair across the country, we need to do more to level up that investment, whether it’s on economic growth, I don’t think the Treasury has been sufficiently focused on economic growth.”