fbpx

Government has ‘moral responsibility’ to help people through crisis, says Sunak

The Tory leadership contender signalled he would provide billions of pounds to support families struggling with the cost of living.

10 August 2022

Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak has said the Government has a “moral responsibility” to help families through the cost-of-living crisis as he promised billions of pounds in additional support.

The former chancellor, who has acknowledged he is trailing Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in the race for No 10, insisted that he would rather lose than promise “false things I can’t deliver”.

Earlier, Ms Truss – who had previously opposed further “handouts” – denied that she had ruled out additional direct help for families struggling with soaring energy bills.

Liz Truss speaks to scientists during a campaign visit to a life sciences laboratory at Alderley Park in Manchester
Liz Truss during a campaign visit to a life sciences laboratory at Alderley Park in Manchester (Christopher Furlong/PA)

She said that if she became prime minister on September 5, she would instruct the chancellor to look at the issue “in the round” and to come up with a solution.

At the same time, she stressed that it was wrong to “whack up” taxes simply to pay out more in benefits, while her campaign team accused Mr Sunak of pursuing “socialist tax and spend” policies.

With analysts predicting average annual household energy bills could top £4,200 in January, the cost-of-living issue continued to dominate the exchanges in the battle to succeed Boris Johnson.

Mr Sunak, who when he was in office in May announced a £15.8 billion support package, said that if he became prime minister he would go further.

“I do feel a moral responsibility as prime minister to go further and get extra help to people over the autumn and the winter to help them cope with what is going to be a really difficult time,” he said in a BBC interview.

“I think that is the right priority.”

Asked whether the extra payments would cost a “few billion” or over £10 billion, he replied: “It’s much closer to the former than the latter.”

Ms Truss, who has said her priority is to reduce taxes – pledging to reverse a hike in national insurance – insisted she was committed to supporting working families through the winter.

PA infographic showing Conservative leadership election timetable
(PA Graphics)

Taking questions on GB News from an audience in Leigh, Greater Manchester, she said: “If the only answer to everything is to whack up taxes and give out more benefits, then the country is going to run into trouble.

“We are predicted to have a recession. It is important we grow the economy.

“I will do everything I can to support working families who work hard and do the right thing.

“If I am elected as your prime minister I will make sure the chancellor has an emergency budget and looks at this issue in the round and sorts this issue out.”

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition

News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.