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Truss vs Sunak latest: Next PM ‘must find many more billions’ as UK faces recession

Truss claims recession ‘not inevitable’ despite Bank of England warning

The next prime minister will have to find “many more billions” of pounds to help households pay soaring energy bills, the head of a highly influential think tank has warned.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, also said struggling public services will need more investment after the Bank of England predicted the UK would be plunged into the longest slump since 2008.

Last night, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak clashed over their economic policies at Sky News’ The Battle for Number 10 last night, in which the foreign secretary insisted the Bank of England forecast is worrying but a recession is not inevitable.

“What the Bank of England have said today is of course worrying, but it is not extremely inevitable. We can change the outcome and we can make it more likely that the economy grows,” Ms Truss said.

She said she wanted to keep taxes low and “do all we can to grow the economy by taking advantage of our post-Brexit freedom, unleashing investment, changing things like the procurement rules and doing things differently”.

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Robert Jenrick defends Rishi Sunak’s proposal to charge £10 for missing NHS appointment

Former housing secretary Robert Jenrick has defended Rishi Sunak’s proposal to charge people £10 for missing a second NHS appointment.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Tory MP said: “I don’t think he should ditch that particular policy. I mean, it may be that it’s difficult in practice to implement, but I think it’s broadly supported by the public because we all want to see good quality public services but they need to be subject to reform.

“We’re putting very large sums of money into the NHS, as we are to a number of other public services, but they’re not working properly and so people want to see reforms being brought forward so this money is being spent properly. “

Challenged on the policy’s potential to target vulnerable people, he said: “I don’t think there’s a suggestion that you’d be going after people who have a good cause to miss appointments. What we’re talking about is people who do so irresponsibly.

“It’s not about money in the sense that it isn’t about the money generated by the £10. It’s about creating a culture whereby people treat public services like the NHS with the respect that it deserves and don’t miss appointments if they can possibly avoid doing so.

“It has been looked at in the past. I was on the Health Select Committee many years ago, we looked at this and we concluded that we wouldn’t do it as a money-raising exercise. It clearly doesn’t raise very much money in the scheme of the NHS’ budget, but it could inculcate a more responsible culture with the minority of people who go around missing appointments for GPs and dentists and so on, which ultimately just puts more strain on the public services.”

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Next PM will have to find ‘many more billions to help households pay soaring energy bills’

The next prime minister will have to find “many more billions” of pounds to help households pay soaring energy bills, the head of a highly influential think tank has warned.

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin reports:

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Rocketing inflation ‘concerns me most’, says Bank of England boss

(Yui Mok/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey has said rocketing inflation “concerns me most” amid political criticism over the speed of actions taken by the bank to tackle the current economic turmoil.

“We are in the center of things because of what is going on in the world at large and the impact that is having on inflation, and that’s what concerns me most at the moment,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Central bank independence is critically important in our view, but our job is to get inflation back down to target.

“I think it’s important that there is a full debate during this process to choose the next prime minister of this country.

“It is clearly very important that public officials like I do not intervene in this debate and I am not doing that.

“We have strong views, of course, but I look forward to working with the new government and new prime minister, and sure we will have substantive exchanges on this.”

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Government’s ‘overwhelming priority’ should be inflation, says former housing secretary

Former housing secretary Robert Jenrick has said the government’s “overwhelming priority” should be inflation.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, the Tory MP, who is backing Rishi Sunak in the leadership race, said: “The dashboard is flashing red on the British economy and we shouldn’t fool ourselves into believing that all is going to be fine.

“I think it’s very clear this morning that our overwhelming priority must be inflation. That’s what many people have been saying for a long time. It’s what Rishi Sunak has been saying throughout this leadership contest and tax cuts, unfunded tax cuts, in the immediate – always attractive though that might be to those of us who want to reduce the burden of taxation – seem less relevant in these circumstances.

“As you’ve just heard from Paul Johnson, the two priorities for the country right now are firstly: is there anything further that we can do from a government perspective in addition to what the Bank of England is doing to tackle inflation? And, on that front, the one thing we certainly can do is to do no further harm and not to do any tax rises that might add to inflation.

“Secondly, to think very deeply about what we can do to help the poorest and most vulnerable households through the winter.”

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Raising taxes is ‘adding insult to injury’, says Kwasi Kwarteng

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said carrying on with the current economic policy “is not going to cut it” and that raising taxes is “adding insult to injury”.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Kwarteng, a supporter of Liz Truss’ campaign, said on the Bank of England forecasts: “I think the problem we have is very simple. I think we’ve got inflation which is, as you say, squeezing people’s income, but we’ve also got a rising tax burden.

“I’ve never understood why if we’re going to help people, how are we going to help people by putting up their taxes? Especially when their daily shop, their costs, are going up.

“What’s very clear to me from what the Bank of England said yesterday is that more of the same, just simply carrying on with our economic policy at the moment, is not going to cut it, it’s not going to help us get out of this difficulty.”

He said he was “not blaming the tax rises” but that “we can’t tax ourselves to growth”.

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Debate halted Truss momentum, says Tory analyst

Lord Robert Hayward, a Conservative peer and elections analyst, said Rishi Sunak’s performance in last night’s Sky News debate caused “a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction” of the campaign he said had recently been going in Liz Truss’ favour.

Speaking to Sky News, Lord Hayward said: “There’s no question in my mind and the vote of the audience, it was the first time that he had clearly led in a debate.”

He added: “Liz has had the best of the last few days, no question about it, with the series of endorsements from different major personalities. I think what happened last night was there was a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction.

“It won’t necessarily have reversed it, but there will be this morning a different sense of messaging that is around.”

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Liz Truss faces investigation over ‘murky donations’

Liz Truss is facing the possibility of her first major sleaze probe amid claims she failed to declare “murky donations” related to her leadership campaign.

Labor yesterday appealed to the cabinet secretary to open an investigation into the Tory frontrunner over funding for a so-called “Fizz with Liz” champagne dinner.

The Independent reported that Ms Truss was facing questions about why she did not declare the thousands of pounds worth of hospitality spent on schmoozing Tory MPs.

Our corresponding policy Jon Stone have more:

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Johnson and Zahawi on holiday amid financial gloom

Boris Johnson and chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are on holiday despite warnings of further soaring inflation and of the economy entering the longest recession since the financial crisis.

With ministers taking a back seat as the Tory party is gripped by the leadership contest, both men were away from Westminster when the Bank of England detailed the brutal outlook.

Labor accused the Chancellor and the prime minister of being “missing in action” as the cost-of-living crisis deepened further, with the Bank forecasting inflation could peak at 13.3%.

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Rishi Sunak vows he won’t stand aside for frontrunner Liz Truss

Rishi Sunak has insisted that there is no point in which he would stand aside for Tory leadership rival Liz Truss, despite multiple polls placing the foreign secretary significantly ahead of the ex-chancellor.

Mr Sunak insisted he will “fight incredibly hard ’til the last day” of the leadership campaign, telling a Conservative party member in the audience that “the quick answer is no” when questioned whether there is a point at which he would step aside in the race to be leader.

He said he is “fighting for something I really believe in and wants to “try and convince you all that I’m right”.

Liz Truss, Kay Burley and Rishi Sunak ahead of the Sky News special programme

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Liz Truss, Kay Burley and Rishi Sunak ahead of the Sky News special programme.

(PA)

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Key moments from Truss and Sunak’s debate

From skeletons in their closets and clashes over their economic policies as the Bank of England warns of a long recession, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have discussed at length a range of topics during their latest televised debate.

The two Tory leadership hopefuls took part in Sky News’ The Battle for Number 10 on Thursday night, which saw them separately taking questions from party members.

They were also both interviewed by Sky News’ presenter Kay Burley.

Here are the key points raised during the 90-minute-long TV event:

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