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Truss ‘prefers targeted aid to support for all’ to alleviate the cost of living crisis

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The Liz Truss camp has said the front-runners of Tory leaders are leaning towards targeted support over aid for all to alleviate the cost of living crisis, but insisted it is not “ruling out” anything at this stage.

As the competition enters its final week, the country is still in the dark about exactly how both candidates would act to take the sting out of sky-high utility bills this winter.

Several possibilities have been put forward in the media, with Mr Sunak’s team warning that cutting VAT by 5% would be “regressive” across the board, amid reports over the weekend that his rival is the move. as a “nuclear” option.

(PA images) / PA graphics

The Sunday Telegraph said this was one of a range of possible strategies to ease the pressure being drawn up by the Treasury for the new prime minister to watch when they take office.

The UKTN also reported on Sunday that Ms Truss had “ruled out” direct aid for anyone to help with rising bills.

But a source from the Foreign Secretary’s team later said that while she is more attracted to targeted aid, she hasn’t ruled out anything yet.

“Liz has been clear that we need to reduce the tax burden and focus on boosting energy supplies and this will be her priority as Prime Minister,” they said.

“She has also been clear that further support may be needed to help. Her preference is for the most needy, but does not exclude anything.”

(PA images) / PA graphics

It comes as The Times has published new polls suggesting that nearly half of current Tory voters want the UK’s energy industry to be renationalised.

According to the YouGov survey, 47% are in favor of returning state-owned energy companies, while 28% are against it and 25% are in doubt.

The poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday last week, also found that Labor’s plan to temporarily freeze energy bills, estimated by the party at £29 billion, is supported by 51% of Tory voters. and only 17% oppose the policy.

With the energy price cap set to rise by 80% by October, anyone who becomes Boris Johnson’s successor on September 5 will have a mammoth task to get the country through the winter.

Regulator Ofgem warned the government on Friday it must act urgently to “match the scale of the crisis we have ahead of us” as Britain faces dismal news that the average household’s annual bill will rise from £1,971 to £3,549.

Headteachers and NHS bosses have warned that schools and hospitals, whose bills are not covered by the price cap, may need to cut staff to save.

Tory leadership contenders Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss (Danny Lawson/James Manning/PA)

Paul Whiteman, the head of the NAHT school leaders’ union, told The Mirror that some of its members feel that “the only possible action they can take is to reduce staff hours”.

Rory Deighton, of the NHS Confederation, said: “The funding gap from rising inflation will either have to be made up for by reducing staff numbers, longer waiting times for care or other areas of patient care being cut back.”

The Sunday Telegraph reported that one option on the table to tackle the crisis is a 5% cut in the 20% general VAT rate, saving the average household more than £1,300 a year.

But The Sun suggested Ms. Truss is being pressured by allies to cut the rate even further — to 10%.

Mr Johnson has said whoever succeeds him in issue 10 will announce “another huge package of financial support”.

The outgoing prime minister, in an article for MailPlus, hinted at the magnitude of options to ease the burden that Ms Truss or Mr Sunak must consider, as he insisted “we must and will help people through the crisis”.

Ms Truss has argued that it is not “right” to announce her full plan before the competition is over or she has seen all the analysis being prepared in Whitehall.

Mr Sunak has also said he favors “prudence against giving definitive answers before entering Downing Street”, arguing that it is “responsible” to have “full control of the fiscal situation” first.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is said to be preparing a farewell message to mark his departure from office, in which he will urge Britain to continue investing in green energy.

The Daily Telegraph quoted a government source as saying there is a “desire to say something” about how “everything we’ve done has put us in a much better position over the medium and long term by investing in nuclear and wind power”.

“Obviously we need to help people with their bills this winter, but there is an even greater need to tackle the supply side and ensure we have affordable energy for homegrown people and businesses as soon as possible. Too many governments have evaded this,” they said.

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