Liz Truss ‘not ruling out’ direct financial support for cost of living – live | Policy

Good morning and welcome to the UK politics live blog on this August Bank Holiday Monday. I hope you are having a good weekend so far.

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We start with news from Team Truss. Her camp has said the Tory leadership frontrunner is leaning towards targeted support over help for all to ease the cost of living crisis, but said she is not “ruling anything out”.

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Various different possibilities have been floated in the media, with Rishi Sunak’s team warning that cutting VAT by 5% across the board would be “regressive” amid reports over the weekend his rival was considering the move as a “nuclear” option, the Press Association reported.

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

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It was also reported by the BBC on Sunday that Liz Truss had “ruled out” direct support for everyone to assist with soaring bills. But a source from the foreign secretary’s team later said that – while she is more attracted to targeted assistance – she has not yet ruled anything out.

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They said:

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Liz has been clear we need to lower the burden of taxation and focus on boosting energy supplies and this will be her priority as prime minister.

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She’s also been clear further support may be required to help. Her preference is to target this to those most in need, but isn’t ruling anything out.

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It comes as The Times released new polling suggesting nearly half of current Tory voters want Britain’s energy industry to be re-nationalised. The newspaper reported that 47% back returning energy companies to public ownership, while 28% oppose it and 25% are unsure, according to the YouGov survey.

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The poll, carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, also found that Labour’s plan to temporarily freeze energy bills, valued by the party at £29 billion, is supported by 51% of Tory voters, with only 17% opposing the policy.

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With the energy price cap set to rise by 80% by October, whoever emerges as Boris Johnson’s successor on 5 September will have a mammoth task on their hands to steer the country through the winter.

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Key events

Good morning and welcome to the UK politics live blog on this August Bank Holiday Monday. I hope you are having a good weekend so far.

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We start with news from Team Truss. Her camp has said the Tory leadership frontrunner is leaning towards targeted support over help for all to ease the cost of living crisis, but said she is not “ruling anything out”.

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Various different possibilities have been floated in the media, with Rishi Sunak’s team warning that cutting VAT by 5% across the board would be “regressive” amid reports over the weekend his rival was considering the move as a “nuclear” option, the Press Association reported.

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

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It was also reported by the BBC on Sunday that Liz Truss had “ruled out” direct support for everyone to assist with soaring bills. But a source from the foreign secretary’s team later said that – while she is more attracted to targeted assistance – she has not yet ruled anything out.

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They said:

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Liz has been clear we need to lower the burden of taxation and focus on boosting energy supplies and this will be her priority as prime minister.

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She’s also been clear further support may be required to help. Her preference is to target this to those most in need, but isn’t ruling anything out.

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It comes as The Times released new polling suggesting nearly half of current Tory voters want Britain’s energy industry to be re-nationalised. The newspaper reported that 47% back returning energy companies to public ownership, while 28% oppose it and 25% are unsure, according to the YouGov survey.

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The poll, carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, also found that Labour’s plan to temporarily freeze energy bills, valued by the party at £29 billion, is supported by 51% of Tory voters, with only 17% opposing the policy.

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With the energy price cap set to rise by 80% by October, whoever emerges as Boris Johnson’s successor on 5 September will have a mammoth task on their hands to steer the country through the winter.

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Filters BETA

Meanwhile, Alistair Darling argued the government needed to take bold action to tackle soaring energy prices to avoid a “death cocktail” of recession and high inflation.

The former Labor Chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

You need something big and substantial and you need it now because people’s bills will start coming in a few weeks. If you don’t, you run the risks that I have described, which is that the economy will slide into recession with all that that entails.

And when you have that on top of the fact that you already have inflation at very, very high levels that we haven’t seen since the 1970s, that’s a deadly cocktail, which is why it needs bold action taken by the government now, not fiddling around with small measures that frankly won’t make a difference.

Darling said the lesson he learned during the 2008 financial crisis was that the government needed to do “more than people expected” as he called for more action to tackle the rising energy prices.

He added:

A lesson I learned from what happened in 2008 is to do more than people expect and to do it faster than people expect. if it works.

It will cost money. When I announced the package in 2008 when it was the banking crisis it totaled around £500bn, that in fact we got all that money back over the next few years…

So what I think we need to see today from the government, from the new Prime Minister, are steps that will be significant enough to deal with this.

You need to look at things like the proposal from my former colleagues in the Labor Party, which talks about a price freeze for a period while we sort out these issues, and you need to announce it now.

The government is working on plans to help people pay their energy bills this winter, a Conservative minister has claimed.

Victoria Prentis, Minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told Times Radio on Monday:

It’s true that people need help and I’m really here to try to reassure that the government is making plans to help people because they will need it with energy bills this winter.

She added:

I want to reassure that there are many, many different plans currently being worked on by civil servants and ministers, and whoever becomes the next Conservative leader and our next Prime Minister will have the groundwork ready and be able to make those difficult choices very quickly and before it is necessary.

Prentis, a supporter of Rishi Sunak, argued that nationalizing Britain’s energy industry or freezing the price cap was not the solution, but that targeted support was needed. She says:

What we have to do is not necessarily help everyone in the country in the same way. We need to make sure that while we’re providing general support…most of our support will go to those really vulnerable households, especially pensioners, people with disabilities, for example, people who really don’t have other options.

Liz Truss ‘doesn’t rule out anything’ about direct financial support for everyone

Hello and welcome to UK Politics Live Blog on this August Bank Holiday Monday. Hope you’re having a good weekend so far.

We start with news from Team Truss. Her camp said the Tory leadership favorite was leaning towards targeted support rather than aid for all to ease the cost of living crisis, but said she was “not ruling anything out”.

Various different possibilities were mooted in the media, with Rishi Sunak’s team warning that a 5% VAT cut across the board would be ‘regressive’ amid reports over the weekend that his rival was considering the move as a “nuclear” option, the Press Association reported.

The Sunday Telegraph said it was one of a series of possible strategies to ease the tension put in place by the Treasury for the new Prime Minister to consider when he takes office.

The BBC also reported on Sunday that Liz Truss had “ruled out” direct support to everyone to help with skyrocketing bills. But a source in the Foreign Secretary’s team later said that – although she was more attracted to targeted aid – she had not ruled anything out yet.

They said:

Liz has made it clear that we need to reduce the tax burden and focus on increasing energy supply and that will be her priority as Prime Minister.

She was also clear that additional support might be needed to help. His preference is to target this to those who need it the most, but don’t rule anything out.

Liz Truss during an election campaign at the Holiday Inn, in Norwich North, Norfolk, as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next Prime Minister.
Liz Truss during an election campaign at the Holiday Inn, in Norwich North, Norfolk, as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next Prime Minister. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

It comes as The Times has published a new poll suggesting nearly half of current Tory voters want Britain’s energy industry to be renationalised. The newspaper reported that 47% support returning energy companies to public ownership, while 28% oppose it and 25% are unsure, according to the YouGov survey.

The poll, taken on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, also found that Labour’s plan to temporarily freeze energy bills, valued by the party at £29billion, is backed by 51% of Tory voters, with only 17% opposed the policy.

With the energy price cap set to rise 80% by October, whoever emerges as Boris Johnson’s successor on September 5 will have a mammoth task ahead of him leading the country through the winter.

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