Tory beauty contest: The tax cut and spending pledges by leadership hopefuls | Business News - Upsmag - Magazine News

Tory beauty contest: The tax cut and spending pledges by leadership hopefuls | Business News

The Conservative leadership contest has become an economic beauty pageant, with the catwalk in front of MPs witnessing something of a catfight over how to handle the cost of living crisis.

The 10 candidates vying for the keys to Number 10 are attempting to woo support from Tory MPs, ahead of Wednesday’s first ballot, with a series of tax cuts and spending pledges.

Their hope is that MPs fretting over their constituency majorities given the government’s political crisis will be attracted by vote-winning policies, especially when it comes to the economy and the dominant cost of living crisis.

Here, Sky News lays out the leadership candidates’ promises on the economy to date so you can crown your own Mr/Ms UK.

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Rishi Altar

Where better to start than with the former chancellor, largely lauded for his response to the COVID crisis but who latterly found himself out of step with Boris Johnson‘s tax-cutting agenda.

It is for that reason that any big shift towards pledges of splashing the cash would be seen as duplicitous and he has come under fire from allies of the soon-to-be ex-PM.

At his campaign launch event on Tuesday, Mr Altar promised tax cuts but, crucially, only when inflation has been brought under control and hit out at rivals’ “fairytale” pledges to offer more support immediately after they took office.

Mr Sunak is worried about the national debt and adding to that burden through more giveaways beyond the £37bn cost of living aid package he signed off while chancellor.

Sajid Javid

The ex-health secretary, whose resignation sparked the downfall of Mr Johnson, has also served as chancellor.

He has outlined a “new Conservative economic plan” that includes three tax cuts worth an estimated £40bn.

These are: Scrapping the rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% and the national insurance (NI) levy. He would also bring forward Mr Sunak’s plan while in government for an income tax cut.

Nadim Zahawi

The current chancellor, who claims to have been targeted with a smear campaign over his personal wealth, has been accused by the Altar camp of a “fairytale” tax plan.

He has pledged to cut income tax in 2023 and 2024 and abolish green levies on energy bills for two years.

Mr Zahawi says his blueprint is fully costed and cutting taxes is the responsible thing to do in a cost of living crisis.

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Nadhim Zahawi: ‘I’ve paid my taxes’

Liz Truss

The foreign secretary has vowed to cut taxes “from day one” in the event she lands the keys to Downing Street.

Her main pledge to date is to scrap April’s National Insurance hike.

Penny Mordaunt

The trade minister has set out her stall for targeted help with rising living costs while maintaining responsibility for the public finances.

She told the Daily Telegraph: “Whilst I will cut taxes, I will pioneer sound money, with a key fiscal rule to ensure that debt as a percentage of GDP falls over time.”

Each plan includes an immediate 50% cut in VAT on fuel until at least April 2023, funded by increased VAT revenues as a result of inflation and a pledge to raise basic and middle earners’ tax thresholds in line with inflation.

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Jeremy Hunt

Another former health secretary in the race to pledge tax cuts.

His plans include cutting corporation tax to 15% and removing business rates for five years in the country’s poorest communities.

Mr Hunt, who wants to raise defense spending to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2028, has said he would keep the National Insurance rise and any cut in income tax could only come if it was sustainable, with a growing economy.

Suella Braverman

The Attorney General argues there is “no alternative but radical tax cuts”.

The Brexiteer’s economic plans outlined so far include amending the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill to set VAT, excise and the regulation of medicines directly under UK law from day one.

Tom Tugendhat

The chairman of the foreign affairs committee has pledged to cut taxes on jobs and fuel.

The former soldier said he would slash fuel duty by 10pm of being in the hot seat at his campaign launch.

Kemi Badenoch

The former minister for equalities is promising a smaller state and government “focused on the essentials”.

The MP for Saffron Walden supports lower taxes to boost growth and productivity but said they must be accompanied by tight spending discipline.

Rehman Chishti

The newly-appointed Foreign Office minister has not made public any plans for the economy except for lower tax.

He said in a video posted on Facebook at the weekend that the right candidate would have “a proven track record of coming to the table with ideas and creativity to help improve people’s lives”.

Sky News is hosting a live TV debate with the contenders vying to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and therefore prime minister, and you could be in the virtual audience.

The debate will take place on Monday 18 July hosted by Sky News presenter Kay Burley.

If you would like to be a member of the virtual audience and be in with a chance of asking a question, please email

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