I know exactly what I will do to ease cost of living crisis, says Liz Truss

Tory leadership candidate vows to take a 'radical' approach to tackle soaring bills and expand the economy through 'bold action'

Liz Truss, Britain's Foreign Secretary and Conservative leadership candidate, at the campaign event at Wembley Arena, London, on Wednesday. AFP
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British Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss has outlined how she will tackle the crisis in the cost of living faced by millions of households across the country.

"We face severe challenges in the ­aftermath of Covid and Putin’s awful invasion of Ukraine," Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary, wrote in UK's Sun newspaper on Wednesday evening.

"I know families are feeling the squeeze and Sun readers are worried about how much harder it may be to do their next supermarket shop, fill up their car or pay their energy bill.

"Some say we can do little more to help with the cost of living than tinker around the edges. I firmly believe in these grave times, we need to be radical.

"That is why I am standing for the leadership of the Conservative Party and to be prime minister of our great country.

"If elected, I will lead the British people through the economic storm with my clear and truly Conservative plan.

"My agenda is focused on seeing us through to better days and unleashing Britain’s full potential. We will get through these tough times by going for growth.

"A growing economy means more opportunity across the country, more funding for public services including our NHS, and better life chances for our children.

"That is why we must grow the economic pie."

Ms Truss said she would do this "through bold action" such as tax cuts, reforms and cutting red tape.

"That is the best way to help people make ends meet and stave off the horror of a recession," she said.

"I am on the side of all those who make our country great, from the dedicated commuters who go out to work every day to the striving self-employed and small business owners, to families and everyone who does the right thing.

"I am ready to put my money where my mouth is by cutting taxes.

"The government I lead will reverse the rise in National Insurance and suspend the green levy on energy bills, in order to help people deal with the heaviest tax burden in 70 years.

"Cutting taxes is not just about putting more money back in people’s pockets. It helps light the spark for success by encouraging new opportunities and driving economic growth.

Ms Truss also tried to reassure those households forced to deal with the high cost of fuel, caused at least partly by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

"I will also deliver immediate support to ensure people are not facing unaffordable fuel bills," she said. "I will be robust in my approach.

"But it isn’t right to announce my entire plan before I have even won the leadership and got my feet under the table.

Everything you need to know about Liz Truss - video

"Let me reassure Sun readers that I can be trusted to rise to the challenge. I will take decisive action to provide help and ensure we never again face such an energy crisis.

"I will tackle the real concerns people have, whether it is the cost of child care, ensuring the police are cracking down hard enough on crime or reining in the militant transport unions over their efforts to grind our country to a halt.

"Things must change and they will change on my watch. I will not duck the difficult decisions or hide behind an alphabet soup of quangos.

"I will be direct and determined in driving through the necessary reforms to change things for good," she wrote in the Sun.

"Let’s be honest, it will not be easy. But I have the inner steel to get the job done and a proven track record of delivery.

"We were told by naysayers that it would never be possible to strike post-Brexit deals that were better than what we had before or to fix the Northern Ireland Protocol. Yet I stepped up to do just that.

"In the same spirit, I will double down in our drive to level up the country."

Ms Truss then spelt out broadly how she would encourage growth in the nation's economy.

"I would get Britain building quicker and will put more power in the hands of local people so they can decide what is in the best interests of their area," she said.

"I would harness the power of free enterprise to revitalise areas that need it most by creating new low-tax and low-regulation investment zones.

"Just as I led by example in seizing our new-found freedoms outside the European Union, I would go further than ever as prime minister to show what Global Britain can achieve.

"Under my leadership, we would get useless Brussels rules off our statute books and on to the bonfire by the end of 2023."

Ms Truss then spelt out her vision for 'Global Britain'.

"I love our country. We are a great nation of makers, grafters and innovators," she wrote.

"We can be greater still, which is why I would roll out the red carpet to the brilliant businesses and dynamic entrepreneurs who want to contribute to our success.

"At this critical moment, we must have the courage of our convictions.

"I will govern as a freedom-loving, tax-cutting Conservative. I will bring together a strong team of ministers dedicated to delivering on our promises.

"I am optimistic about our future despite the challenges ahead," asserted Ms Truss.

"Together, we can defy the voices of decline and show we will not buy what these merchants of gloom are peddling.

"Forecasts are not destiny. We know from our national history that the UK has come through countless crises by being bold. We can do so again.

"Our great country has what it takes to brave the storm and emerge stronger. Under my leadership, we can unleash our full potential and forge ahead to our best days yet."

Truss and Sunak face off at final hustings in London

Earlier on Wednesday evening at the 12th and final hustings event at Wembley Arena, Ms Truss said that there would be no new taxes or energy rationing if she becomes prime minister.

Ms Truss hinted about more support with the cost of living as she reaffirmed that her two priorities were cutting taxes and securing the UK’s energy supply.

The Conservative leadership candidate said that a third priority would be to address costs in the form of a budget or a “fiscal event”.

“In a fiscal event, the chancellor would address the issue of household support,” Ms Truss said.

Ms Truss said she would follow departing Prime Minister Boris Johnson in agreeing to no new taxes.

She said she would “absolutely be looking to act on business energy costs” amid concerns over the crippling effect of high bills., and ruled out energy rationing.

UK Conservatives on the leadership campaign trail — in pictures

Rival Rishi Sunak, who had a warm-up video calling himself the “underdog”, offered a less definite answer on energy rationing.

“We shouldn’t rule anything out because the challenges that we face with this crisis are significant,” Mr Sunak said.

He had opted to heap praise on Ms Truss in his opening remarks before marking a clean line about his approach.

Mr Sunak said leadership “starts by being straight with the country about the economic challenges”.

“I’ve not chosen to say the things that people may want to hear, I’ve said the things I believe our country needs to hear," he said.

“Although it hasn’t made my life easy, it is honest and, for me, that is what leadership is all about.”

The former chancellor said he had the “ability and experience to safely steer us through the storms ahead”.

“My plan is the right plan to tackle inflation, to compassionately support those who most need our help and to safeguard our children’s economic inheritance," Mr Sunak said.

“Because as Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson knew, maxing out the country’s credit card is not right, it’s not responsible and it is certainly not Conservative.”

Everything you need to know about Rishi Sunak - video

On the National Health Service, he said: “The NHS will always be safe in my hands but we cannot simply keep throwing money at it.

"I will be brave enough to actually reform it to get the more efficient health service that we need.”

Mr Sunak said his government would be conducted “competently”, “seriously” and “with decency and integrity at the heart of everything that we do”.

“That is the change that I am going to bring, that is the prime minister I am going to be and that is how we’re going to win the next general election,” he said.

Ms Truss said she would stop smart motorways amid safety concerns, and that she wanted to be in touch with the member who suggested reducing the childcare ratios for England and scrapping business rates for nurseries.

“Child care is too expensive for parents across our country," she said.

"We do need to reform the way we do things, we need to also reform the government funding as it currently comes from three different departments.

"And it would be an absolute priority for me to help the brilliant people who work in nurseries, but also help parents who are struggling with the cost of living."

Voting in the Tory leadership contest closes at 5pm on Friday and the winner will be announced on Monday.

Conservative leaders to travel to Balmoral to meet Queen Elizabeth II

Mr Johnson and his successor will then go to Balmoral for the appointment of the new prime minister, rather than Buckingham Palace.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that either Ms Truss or Mr Sunak would meet Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland, rather than in London as is tradition.

Queen Elizabeth II meeting new prime ministers – in pictures

The queen will receive Mr Johnson on September 6 at her Aberdeenshire home, where he will formally tender his resignation.

This will be followed by an audience with the new Tory leader, where she or he will be invited to form a government.

The news will inevitably heighten concerns about the health of the 96-year-old monarch.

Mr Johnson said arrangements for the handover would be tailored to make sure they suit the queen.

He sidestepped a question about when he last spoke to her and if he was concerned that she would not be going to London for the handover.

“I don’t talk about my conversations with the Queen, no prime minister ever does,” Mr Johnson said during a visit to Barrow-in-Furness.

“But I can tell you we will certainly make sure that the arrangements for the handover will fit totally around her and whatever she wants.”

Updated: September 01, 2022, 7:00 AM