Asked if she could vow not to introduce new taxes if she wins, she nodded and replied confidently: “Yes, no new taxes.”
The question was directed to her by host of the London hustings event, LBC’s Nick Ferrari. The 12th and final hustings was held in Wembley Arena and was the rivals last attempt to win-over their party.
It followed a question on whether VAT was too high, and whether Truss would seek to cut it during her possible tenure. Truss refused to answer this question, saying that there is no point in doing so as she can’t make “future predictions” on the economy.
At the event, Truss ensured that she would “absolutely” look at energy costs, but also ruled out any new windfall tax on energy firm profits. This has previously been demanded by opposition parties to pay for support to help households with their rising energy bills.
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Later asked by Ferrari whether he would do the same, Sunak – who introduced these taxes as chancellor in May – did not say whether he would extend it.
He did, however, say that it was “absolutely the right thing” to introduce a windfall tax when he did, commenting that firms had made billions in profits due to the effect on energy markets of the war in Ukraine.
The former chancellor added: “The challenges we face with this crisis are significant. Many European countries are looking at how we can all optimise our energy usage, that is a sensible thing for us to be doing as a country.”
Truss also ruled out energy rationing, unlike her rival Rishi Sunak, who said it should not be disregarded and that it should remain a possibility.
Officials believe that without energy rationing, the UK could experience blackouts for several days in January if cold weather combines with gas shortages to leave the country short of power
Truss added that she would reverse April’s National Insurance rise and temporarily ditch energy levies to help the public survive the increased cost of living. She did not detail any further help for households but said her chancellor would look to “address the issue of household support” in an emergency Budget, something she would reportedly hold next month.
Despite Truss being the favourite, crowd support seemed to slightly tip towards Sunak during last night’s event. His arrival on stage was met with immense cheers and a standing ovation that continued through much of the evening.
A Truss supporter at the event told us: “Liz’s supporters don’t need to scream and shout, nor do they need to attend this hustings so close to the ballot deadline as we already know she will win. She doesn’t need our support. Rishi needs all he can get”.
The voting closes this Friday and the result of the competition will be announced on Monday 5th September, when the UK will have a new prime minister.