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Where Rishi Sunak And Liz Truss Stand On Major Policy Areas

Where Rishi Sunak And Liz Truss Stand On Major Policy Areas
9 min read

Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss face a summer of scrutiny by Conservative party members on how they would run a government as they enter the final stage of the race to become prime minister. 

The former chancellor and the foreign secretary beat six other candidates to make it onto the final Tory leadership ballot, which will now be voted on by 160,000 party members, with the results announced on 5 September.

Where each candidate stands on the biggest issues facing the country, including tax, the cost-of-living crisis, huge Covid backlogs in the health and justice system, Brexit, war in Ukraine and the climate crisis, will play a huge part in winning votes. 

Both have served in Boris Johnson’s cabinet but have radically different views on a number of policies. Here, Dods Political Intelligence sets out where both stand on key areas: 

Tax and Spend

Rishi Sunak 

· Continue corporation tax rise from 19 per cent to 25 per cent next year.

· As Chancellor, he cut fuel duty by 5p a litre.

· Maintains that government needs to hold off on tax cuts until inflation is under control. 

· Believes government needs to service public debt and balance the books, guided by Thatcherite principles.

· Would create incentives for businesses to invest through relaxing financial regulations and scrapping the Apprenticeship Levy.

· Take a “tough stance” towards public sector pay and the need to avoid wage price spiral.

Liz Truss 

· Would reverse the National Insurance rise, and said she would bring in an emergency budget swiftly to do so.

· Not raise corporation tax.

· Promised £30bn in tax cuts.

· Believes the government can and should borrow more. 

· Take a “tough stance” towards public sector pay and the need to avoid wage price spiral

Climate change

Rishi Sunak 

· Committed to the net zero 2050 target 

· Committed to Conservative Environment Network pledge card, which include a commitment to promote clean British energy and supporting sustainable farming and the environment 

· Defended cutting domestic flight taxes as Chancellor

· Open to the idea of a carbon border adjustment mechanism to tackle carbon leakage (confirmed at the Conservative Environmental Network hustings.)

· Looking at launching a new energy efficiency scheme to tackle the cost of living (confirmed at the Conservative Environmental Network hustings)

Liz Truss 

· Committed to the net zero 2050 target.

· Open to the idea of a carbon border adjustment mechanism to tackle carbon leakage (confirmed this at the Conservative Environmental Network hustings).

· Committed to Conservative Environment Network pledge card, which include a commitment to promote clean British energy and supporting sustainable farming and the environment 

· Committed to develop a stronger British biodiversity target and move away from the EU’s habitat directive.

Energy 

Rishi Sunak 

· Re-establish a separate Department of Energy and create a new Energy Security Committee tasked with reforming the market to cut future bills 

· Maintain a ban on building any new onshore wind farms, but start massive expansion of offshore wind 

· Introduce a legal target to make Britain energy self-sufficient by 2045.

· Looking at launching a new energy efficiency scheme to tackle the cost of living, focusing on cheaper measures such as heating controls and cavity wall insulation (Conservative Environment Network hustings).

Liz Truss 

· Introduce a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy, which is currently used to fund energy-efficiency installation schemes for poorer areas. 

· Review ban on fracking and consult with communities 

· Committed to supporting gas as a transition fuel

Cost of living 

Rishi Sunak

· As Chancellor, Sunak brought forward a number of support packages to help with cost of living, including the energy bill rebate. During the campaign, the former Chancellor has focused on the need for fiscal responsibility and has promised to ease tax but only when “we’ve got a grip of inflation”.

Liz Truss

· Truss has promised a swathe of tax cuts, including reversing the National Insurance rise, which she argues will alleviate the cost-of-living crisis. She has also pledged to hold a review of government spending.

Education and Skills

Rishi Sunak 

· Declined to say whether he would reverse the ban on new grammar schools, while backing the continuation of existing ones. 

· In his 2022 spring statement, he hinted at reform of the Apprenticeship Levy – although this was later played down by HM Treasury.

Liz Truss 

· Previously attacked “lip service paid to equality” in education, claiming children in the 1980s were “taught about racism and sexism” instead of making sure everyone could read and write. 

· In a hustings with Tory MPs, she told colleagues she would lift the ban on new grammar schools. 

· Told a hustings her "mission in politics is to give every child, every person, the best opportunity to succeed, and for their success in life to depend solely on their hard work and talents, not their background or where they are from".

Equalities

Rishi Sunak 

· Would publish a “manifesto for women’s rights” and would argue that trans women should be excluded from women’s sporting events.

· Sunak has also said that under his Premiership, he would call on schools to be “more careful” when teaching “issues of sex and gender”.

Liz Truss

· As Equalities Minister, Truss oversaw the completion of work looking at how to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). She and the Government Equalities Office were criticised for making minimal changes to the GRA, and she had been dubbed the ‘Minister for Inequality’ by stakeholders. In leadership debates, Truss maintained her position that she was against self-identification for trans people.

Foreign Affairs, Defence, and International Development

Rishi Sunak

· Maintain current level of defence spending but has stated 2 per cent GDP NATO target is a “floor, not a ceiling”.

· As Chancellor, Sunak cut UK Aid spending from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income. In 2021, he stated it may return to pre pandemic levels in 2024-25.

Liz Truss

· Recognise China’s treatment of the Uighur population as genocide. 

· Increase defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030. 

· Pledge more support and investment in the intelligence services, and cyber and space. 

· Update the Integrated Review with an increased focus on Russia and China. 

· Review the shape and size of the Armed Forces, and secure “tens’s of thousands” of defence jobs

· Provide the Ministry of Defence with resources to focus on procurement priorities.

Health, Social Care and Welfare

Rishi Sunak 

· Speed up clinical trials approval process, creating a streamlined single approval service for UK clinical trials.

· As Chancellor, Sunak reportedly blocked requests from NHS leaders to provide more funding to tackle Covid backlogs.

Liz Truss 

· Reform welfare and tackle economic inactivity. 

· Reverse the National Insurance increase which had been introduced to fund tackle NHS backlogs, and improve social care.

· Has argued patients in rural areas need more support, when asked about improving the NHS backlog

Home Affairs and Justice

Rishi Sunak 

· Create a new criminal offence for belonging to, or facilitating, grooming gangs. 

· Longer prison time for those not attending sentencing hearings. 

· Justice Secretary to get a veto over parole board decisions. 

· Ringfence funding for police child sexual exploitation teams. 

· Rename the Victims Bill the Victims and Sentencing Bill. 

· Create a new offence for “downblousing”, the act of taking photos down a woman's top without consent.

· Maintain the policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. 

Liz Truss 

· Maintain the policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, and possibly extend it to Turkey. 

· Seek reform of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Housing

Rishi Sunak 

· Focus on improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock.

· Look at launching a new energy efficiency scheme that would focus on the cheaper measures such as smart heating controls and cavity wall insulation.

Liz Truss 

· New “low planning zones” in key areas of the UK. 

· Supports the idea of zonal planning, previously proposed by former housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

· Scrap local authority housing targets and instead focus on deregulation and tax incentives to encourage development.

Levelling Up

Rishi Sunak 

· Has signed up to the Northern Research Group’s pledges, which include a commitment to a new minister for the North, more devolution, a levelling-up "formula" to ensure "left behind" areas receive the government funding they need, and two new vocational colleges that will be "the vocational equivalent of Oxford and Cambridge", dubbed "Voxbridge".

· Scrap EU Solvency II rules to encourage investment into infrastructure.

Liz Truss 

· Low tax zones with lower businesses rates and fewer planning restrictions to encourage investment in left behind areas.

· Amend the Levelling Up Bill to replace centralised targets with tax cuts and reduced red tape in “opportunity zones”. 

· Has signed up to the Northern Research Group’s pledges, which include a commitment to a new minister for the North, more devolution, a levelling-up "formula" to ensure "left behind" areas receive the government funding they need, and two new vocational colleges that will be "the vocational equivalent of Oxford and Cambridge", dubbed "Voxbridge".

Nature, food, and farming

Rishi Sunak

· Stressed the importance of nature, highlighting the UK’s poor record on nature relative to other G7 economies (confirmed at the Conservative Environmental Network hustings).

Liz Truss

· Review the list of protected species, based on a UK nature audit rather than the EU-wide Habitats Regulations (confirmed at the Conservative Environmental Network hustings).

· Lead a UK delegation to the biodiversity COP in Montreal (confirmed at the Conservative Environmental Network hustings). 

· Instrumental in UK trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, which have been criticised by the UK food and farming sector.

Online Safety

Rishi Sunak 

· Would look into “legal but harmful” definitions in the Online Safety Bill.

Liz Truss 

· Committed to further amendments to the Online Safety Bill to make sure they are “delivering it and also make sure that everybody is aware” of the intention of the Bill.

Trade

Rishi Sunak 

· Take a tough stance on Brexit and “capitalise on the freedoms” it offered. 

· Speculation he would change policy on the Northern Ireland protocol and seek a compromise with the EU to alleviate economic damage. 

· Set up a Brexit delivery department and scrap or reform “all of the EU law, red tape and bureaucracy that is still on our statute book and slowing economic growth” by the next general election.

Liz Truss 

· Drive forward regulatory divergence from the EU, including overhauling business regulation. 

· She was fundamental in securing free trade agreements and trade deals with other nations and states, having secured trade deals with Japan, New Zealand and Australia. 

· Has said that the NHS “remains off the table” for any trade agreement.

 

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