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Truss allies claim Sunak resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape – live

Truss allies claim Sunak resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape - live
Simon Clarke and Kwasi Kwarteng accuse Sunak of having ‘dug his heels in’ on post-Brexit reforms

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Tory leadership: Sunak emphasises handouts to tackle cost of living while Truss rejects ‘Gordon Brown economics’

Two Cabinet ministers backing Liz Truss to become the next prime minister said Rishi Sunak had resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that, when they had worked with Mr Sunak, he had “dug his heels in” on reforms only possible after leaving the EU.

In the Telegraph, they said the former chancellor refused to scrap the EU’s Solvency II rule, which makes it harder for the UK to invest pension funds in infrastructure projects, and the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

A Sunak campaign source denied the claims as “categorically wrong”, adding that Mr Sunak supported the idea of challenging the EU over unilaterally changing NI’s trading terms.

Mr Clarke and Mr Kwarteng also wrote: “Rishi has given up. He wants people to fear there is no alternative to sliding into recession and that the only option is to stem the bleeding with Labour-lite economic policy.”

It comes after Mr Sunak said he would offer more support to the most vulnerable amid the cost-of-living crisis, while Ms Truss pledged tax cuts and accused her rival of looking to impose “Gordon Brown style politics”.

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Energy price cap ‘could be lifted to £5,000 next year’

The cap on energy bills could reach an eye-watering £5,000 next year, according to independent energy consultants.

Regulator Ofgem could be forced to set the cap at £5,038 per year for the average household in the three months beginning next April, they said, which is more than £200 higher than previous forecasts.

Energy consultancy Auxilione – which advises businesses on how to reduce their energy use – also predicted that bills would reach £4,467 in January.

It comes as Tory leadership rivals Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have been grilled on what they would do to help Britons struggling with the record-breaking costs of gas and energy.

<p>Ministers are set to meet with energy bosses later today </p>

Ministers are set to meet with energy bosses later today

Mr Sunak said he would offer more support for the most vulnerable, while Ms Truss has pledged tax cuts.

The new figure of £5,000 was reported just hours before ministers are scheduled to meet representatives from energy companies to discuss the bleak winter ahead.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng are set to press the firms for a solution.

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Truss allies claim Sunak resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape

Two Cabinet ministers backing Liz Truss to become the next prime minister said Rishi Sunak had resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that, when they had worked with Mr Sunak, he had “dug his heels in” on reforms only possible after leaving the EU.

In the Telegraph, they said the former chancellor refused to scrap the EU’s Solvency II rule, which makes it harder for the UK to invest pension funds in infrastructure projects, and the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

A Sunak campaign source denied the claims as “categorically wrong”, adding that Mr Sunak supported the idea of challenging the EU over unilaterally changing NI’s trading terms.

Mr Clarke and Mr Kwarteng also wrote: “Rishi has given up. He wants people to fear there is no alternative to sliding into recession and that the only option is to stem the bleeding with Labour-lite economic policy.”

It comes after Mr Sunak said he would offer more support to the most vulnerable amid the cost-of-living crisis, while Ms Truss pledged tax cuts and accused her rival of looking to impose “Gordon Brown style politics”.

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Exclusive: Government accused of cost-of-living ‘spin’ after £20m publicity campaign revealed

Ministers have been accused of trying to spin the cost-of-living crisis, after The Independent learnt they have ordered a £20m campaign to boast of existing cost-of-living help while refusing to set out a fresh package of assistance with spiralling bills.

Read more from Andrew Woodcock:

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Truss claims she is one of Larry’s preferred cabinet ministers

Liz Truss has claimed Larry the Downing Street cat frequently sidles up to her – more than other cabinet members.

And she wants to “build on that relationship”, she said on GB News.

“I already have an extremely positive relationship with Larry. He frequently sidles up to me, I think I’m one of his preferred cabinet ministers.”

“One of the many reasons I want to be prime minister is I want to build on that relationship we already have.”

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Ministers to hold crunch talks with energy bosses over price hikes

Energy bosses will face pressure from ministers about how they can help customers cope with rising bills at a crunch meeting today.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will press gas and electricity company executives for solutions to the predicted spike in bills over winter.

The summit with utilities bosses, expected to take place in Downing Street, comes after Cornwall Insight predicted bills are set to soar to around £3,582 in October, from £1,971 previously, before rising even further in the new year.

Executives are being asked to submit a breakdown of expected profits and payouts, as well as investment plans for the next three years.

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Power companies demand action on energy bills

Utility companies – including one of the “big six” domestic energy suppliers – have joined the chorus of demands for Tory leadership contenders Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to set out an improved package of help for consumers facing astronomical bills this winter.

The call from EDF and other suppliers came as Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis said that immediate reassurance over the “cataclysmic” price hikes was needed to avoid mental health damage to millions of people.

More from Andrew Woodcock here:

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Gordon Brown calls for government to lower energy price cap

Gordon Brown has called for the government to lower the energy price cap and temporarily renationalise energy companies which are not able to offer customers lower energy bills.

Writing in The Guardian, the former Labour prime minister compared the current cost of living crisis and soaring energy costs to the 2008 banking disaster.

In a broadside at Boris Johnson – who has been enjoying a trip to Slovenia in recent days – Mr Brown said that in a crisis leaders “don’t take holidays, and don’t politely hang fire”.

Joe Middleton has more:

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Truss ‘U-turn’ on cost of living support, denies opposing ‘handouts’

Tory leadership contender Liz Truss has now hinted she would consider further support for struggling households if made prime minister, after previously taking a hard stance on “handouts”.

Speaking to an audience of GB News viewers in Leigh, Greater Manchester on Wednesday, she said: “I will do everything I can to support working families who work hard and do the right thing.

“If I am elected as your prime minister I will make sure the chancellor has an emergency budget and looks at this issue in the round and sorts this issue out.”

Ms Truss – who has previously opposed further “handouts” – denied that she had ruled out additional direct help for families struggling with soaring energy bills.

Her competitor, Rishi Sunak, has said the government has a “moral responsibility” to help families through the cost-of-living crisis as he promised billions of pounds in additional support.

Mr Sunak’s supporters said Ms Truss appeared to be backing away from her previous position.“This is a major U-turn on the biggest issue currently facing the country,” a campaign spokesman said.

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Welcome to The Independent’s UK politics blog for 11 August 2022 where we provide the latest on the Tory leadership race and all the latest from Westminster. Stay tuned!