Business

Tory leadership policy: where do the candidates stand?

In just a few weeks, members of the Conservative Party will decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister, after Boris Johnson announced last month he was stepping down after a wave of resignations by members of his government that eroded his political authority.

The two contenders for the leadership – Liz Truss, Secretary of State and current leader, and Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor – have outlined their respective visions for the country during a series of televised debates and hustings.

Throughout the election campaign so far, candidates have clashed over issues such as tax cuts and helping Britain through the crisis Cost of Living Crisis. With inflation at a 40-year high and rising, household energy bills are forecast to hit £4,427 in April and more public sector strikes on the horizon for Johnson’s successor discouraging decisions when he or she is announced on September 5th.

Below, the Financial Times has provided an overview of where each candidate stands in eight key UK policy areas.

Business

half-timbered

Promised to boost economic growth by introducing more than £30bn worth of tax cuts a year. Claims Sunak’s policies will plunge Britain into recession. It would reverse its corporate tax hike and introduce a year-long moratorium on the green electricity tax to address the cost-of-living crisis. Wants to review Bank of England’s mandate to ensure it is ‘tough enough on inflation’

sunak

Pledged to “return to traditional conservative economic values” and denounced Truss’ “fairy tale economy”. Will cut taxes once the UK gets inflation under control and lower the base rate of income tax to 19 per cent by 2024. Wants to eliminate VAT on domestic energy bills for next year. Warning to give up the central bank’s independence in setting interest rates would be a “mistake”.

Brexit

half-timbered

Architect of Northern Ireland’s Protocol Act, which would override part of Johnson’s Brexit deal over trade in the region. Pledged a ‘bonfire’ of EU bureaucracy and pledged to scrap all EU-derived legislation by the end of 2023 if found to be holding back UK economic growth.

sunak

Concerns raised in Cabinet over the economic implications of a row with Brussels over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade deals. Promised to set up a new Brexit Delivery department to review existing EU legislation on UK codes.

education

half-timbered

Pledged to reform the sector, including a ‘new wave’ of free schools to replace failing academies and shake up the Oxbridge admissions system by ensuring all triple-A* students are automatically given the opportunity to enroll at either Oxford – or to apply to Cambridge University.

sunak

Vowed to crack down on college degrees that “load students with debt” but don’t improve their earning potential. Promised to introduce a ‘British Baccalaureate’ which would require secondary school students to study maths and English by the age of 18.

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level up

half-timbered

Pledged to “conservatively upgrade the country” by promoting regional growth through low taxes, “investment zones” with little regulation, and the creation of directly elected mayors. Has committed to building Northern Powerhouse Rail, a £43bn line linking Hull and Liverpool.

sunak

Pledged to continue Johnson’s agenda to tackle regional disparities in the UK, including by creating directly elected mayors. Would have a Cabinet Secretary to raise levels and ensure Treasury approves infrastructure projects outside of southern England.

immigration

half-timbered

Will crack down on “appalling” gangs illegally smuggling people across the Channel, increase border force numbers by 20 per cent and appoint a Home Office minister to oversee the force. Truss has promised to pursue more migration partnerships with third countries like the Rwanda program.

sunak

The former Chancellor has outlined a 10-point plan to secure Britain’s borders. These include asking Parliament to set an annual cap on the number of refugees entering the UK each year and setting up an intergovernmental ‘Small Boats Task Force’ to take control of migrant crossings across the English Channel take over.

net zero

half-timbered

Promised to meet the net zero target but criticized the goal, saying she wants to find “better ways to reach net zero” that “do not harm people and businesses”. Supports fracking where there is local support and criticizes the use of solar panels on agricultural land.

sunak

Committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Wants to set up an energy security task force, deregulate to boost gas production in the North Sea, and expand renewable energy sources like offshore wind and nuclear power. Also supports fracking in areas where there is support.

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union

half-timbered

Has described himself as a ‘child of the union’ and has called Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon an ‘attention seeker’. Wants to give MSPs a parliamentary privilege that would give them legal immunity from prosecution for speech made in Parliament.

sunak

Pledged to do “anything and everything” to preserve the Union and would expect UK ministers to be more visible in Scotland and would like Holyrood to publish data regularly on his performance.

NHS

half-timbered

Will reverse Social Security surge to fund welfare and close the NHS backlog. But has also said she would prioritize funding for social welfare. Wants to review NHS pensions and support doctors and nurses by “removing some of the key dictates” and having fewer layers of management in healthcare.

sunak

Promised to set up a vaccine-style task force to cut red tape. Proposed £10 fine for patients missing doctor and hospital appointments. Pledged to set up 200 diagnostic centers by March 2024 to clear treatment backlogs. It is expected that he will stick to the social security system that he introduced as Chancellor.

https://www.ft.com/content/f9354505-a692-4640-aec1-1e38c5d2f14d Tory leadership policy: where do the candidates stand?

Adam Bradshaw

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