UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss and former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak are the two candidates chosen by Conservative MPs to run for Prime Minister, a position officially left by Boris Johnson on Wednesday (20). ). The economy will be an important battleground in this dispute, but it will not be the only
Sunak wants to keep the recent tax increases in an attempt to balance public accounts after the record indebtedness made to face the Covid-19 pandemic. Its priority is to contain inflation, which is at its highest level in 40 years, at 9.4% in June in annual terms. The former finance minister called Truss’s tax plans unrealistic.
The chancellor accused Sunak of pushing the UK to the brink of recession and vowed to “start cutting taxes on day one”, including the corporate tax. She also wants to review the Bank of England’s mandate to set interest rates
Cost of living
As finance minister, Sunak launched a £15bn package in May to help Britons overcome the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades. Its rivals consider the measure insufficient, as energy prices will rise again in October.
Truss vowed to use economic growth fueled by his promised tax cuts as the main way to tackle the inflationary crisis.
Truss supported Britain’s membership of the European Union in the 2016 referendum, before becoming an enthusiastic supporter of the benefits of Brexit. Since December last year, she has led negotiations with Brussels on more contentious issues, such as Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status.
As foreign minister, she is pushing for new legislation that would unilaterally modify the country’s commitments to the EU after Brexit, in relation to that British region. Brussels and its critics denounce the project as a violation of international law
A rising star of the Conservatives in 2016, Sunak quickly came out in favor of Brexit, much to the dismay of then-leader David Cameron. He still supports the controversial ‘Northern Ireland protocol’ proposals and, as finance minister, promoted ‘free ports’ in the UK as a way to benefit from Brexit.
To stem the illegal arrivals of migrants from France, the Conservative government has pushed forward a plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, a country 6,500 kilometers from London, for their resettlement. Paralyzed by legal action, this policy has the support of both candidates. Truss called this ‘completely moral’. According to press leaks, Sunak opposed the plan because of its high cost of £120m.
Sunak refused to set ‘arbitrary targets’ for military spending amid the war in Ukraine. He considers, however, that the objective of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) — that member states spend 2.0% of their GDP on defense — is a ‘floor, not a ceiling’. He wants Britain’s defense budget to reach 2.5% of GDP, ‘over time’
Truss was more direct, and this week committed to spending 3.0% by 2030
Sunak has pledged to uphold the UK’s legally binding targets to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2050. Says he will keep ‘green taxes’ on energy bills, aimed at helping the renewable energy sector grow.
Truss has promised to remove these fees but says she is committed to the 2050 target