Hard to square! Truss and Sunak suffer blow as expert slams Tory tax cutting agenda

Rishi Sunak pledges to 'take Sturgeon on and beat her'

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The Foreign Secretary and former Chancellor are currently competing to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader. The pair faced off in Belfast yesterday for the eight Tory Party hustings event of the campaign.

However, shortly after the Ulster event, Mr Truss and Mr Sunak faced criticism over their tax plans.

Ms Truss has pledged to start cutting taxes from “day one”.

She has even vowed to reverse April’s National Insurance increase and a planned rise in corporation tax.

Mr Sunak, who has claimed he wants to control inflation before pursuing a tax-cutting agenda, unveiled plans to temporarily axe VAT on energy bills.

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The Richmond MP also pledged to eventually cut income tax from 20p to 16p.

However, an expert at the Institute for Government suggested both plans are looking more implausible by the day.

Carl Emmerson, IFS deputy director, said: “The reality is that the UK has got poorer over the last year.

“That makes tax and spending decisions all the more difficult.

“It is hard to square the promises that both Ms Truss and Mr Sunak are making to cut taxes over the medium term with the absence of any specific measures to cut public spending and a presumed desire to manage the nation’s finances responsibly.”

The IFS added: “Only last month the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) warned that the public finances are already on an unsustainable long-term path.

“Large, unfunded, permanent tax cuts would only act to make this problem worse.”

The report was published while inflation hit a whopping 10.1 percent in July.

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Despite the criticism, a spokeswoman for the Sunak campaign said of the IFS report: “This drives a coach and horses through Liz’s economic plan.

“Rishi has consistently made the case that permanent, unfunded tax cuts would cause significant damage to the public finances and push inflation up higher.

“It is not credible or Conservative to spend £50bn on tax cuts and pay for them through higher borrowing at a time of high inflation.

“Rishi’s plan is the right plan to prioritise temporary, targeted support for those who need it through the winter, grip inflation and cut taxes sustainably and for good.”

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