Where Rishi Sunak stands on policies like net zero, taxes and cost of living

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The second Conservative leadership race saw an almost complete absence of political discussion. Nonetheless, it has been barely three months since favorite Rishi Sunak made his stand for the premiership in his clash with Liz Truss.

Britain’s budget situation has deteriorated dramatically since then, but that was what Mr Sunak revealed to be his instincts before Ms Truss blew Britain’s finances upside down.

Tax

Sunak wants to present himself as a Traditional low-tax conservative and pledged to lower the minimum income tax rate from 20% to just 16%.

However, he insisted he would only do so with caution, meaning it wouldn’t happen until the end of the next legislature, likely in 2029. This was to ensure that the cuts were financed by “growth” and not by borrowing.

“I will never cut taxes in a way that would only increase inflation,” he said, promising to “always be honest about the challenges we face.”

Mr Sunak had already pledged to raise corporation tax from 19 to 25 per cent, a rise which Ms Truss scrapped but was forced to reinstate after her disastrous mini-budget.

The former Chancellor was also responsible for the 1.25% increase in National Insurance contributions for employees and employers. This was also dropped by Ms. Truss and remains dropped for the time being.

He also imposed a four-year freeze on income tax thresholds, an effective stealth tax set to raise £21billion.

Expenses

Mr. Sunak was discreet about his spending plans in the previous leadership campaign. However, his final mini-budget in March effectively included £17billion in cuts because he was making spending decisions in terms of cash and did not include any allowance for soaring inflation.

However, he was unlikely to have indulged in huge spending, resisting Mr Johnson’s urge to turn on the taps when he was Chancellor and warning when he launched his first leadership campaign “We need a return to traditional conservative economic values ​​- and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairy tales.”

net zero

While the rumors of Mr. Sunak net zero skepticism have often swirled, during the election campaign, he remained firmly attached to the target.

He said this summer he would make the UK energy independent by 2045. “We need more offshore wind, more rooftop solar and more nuclear. We need to insulate millions of homes and make sure people know the steps they can take, at no cost, to improve the efficiency of their homes,” he said.

It has pledged to streamline planning and licensing rules for green energy to achieve this goal.

Northern Ireland Protocol

When asked about the protocol during hustings in Belfast, Rishi Sunak said the following: “There’s probably not much disagreement between me and Liz on this.”

He is attached to the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which would give the UK government the ability to tear up the Brexit deal over Ireland with little scrutiny.

However, during her brief tenure, Ms Truss has seen a relative thaw in relations with the EU that Mr Sunak may want to maintain.

Migration crisis and Channel

Sunak said this summer that he cap the number of refugees Britain would take every year and do “whatever it takes” to make the Rwandan government’s program for asylum seekers work.

As part of those plans, he pledged to tighten the definition of who was eligible to seek asylum in Britain. He also promised more social workers and incentives to help clear the backlog of applicants.

His campaign also said he wanted to link illegal migration to aid and trade deals, including clauses that would force countries to take back stranded migrants.

“We need to inject a healthy dose of common sense into the system, and my plan does that,” he said.

Ukraine and Defense

Mr Sunak fully supports the UK’s support for Ukraine. In July he said: “If I become Prime Minister I will redouble my efforts and reinforce our policy of full support for Ukraine which Boris has so ably pursued.”

However, on defense spending, he got involved in an argument with Ben Wallace, the Secretary of Defense. Mr Wallace claimed Mr Sunak tried to block a multi-year settlement for the armed forces in 2019.

The former chancellor tried to brush off such criticism, saying: “Defence spending needs to increase and I will never neglect our armed forces.” But he also called a 3% of GDP target “arbitrary” and added that “it’s not a plan”.

NHS and social spending

In office, Mr Sunak insisted on increasing National Insurance contributions to pay for elimination of NHS backlogs and, possibly, to finance social care expenditure.

During the election campaign he did not set out any other plans, saying only: ‘I don’t think we can have an NHS that is underfunded and unable to provide the care it needs. I think you can rest assured that the NHS is safe in my hands.

trans issues

Mr Sunak’s allies said this summer he would combat “recent trends aimed at erasing women through the use of awkward and non-sexist languageand launch a “manifesto for women’s rights”.

When asked during the election campaign if trans women were women, he replied, “No.”

However, he also said during an election campaign that “prejudice against trans people is wrong. The Conservative Party is an open and welcoming family for all members of society, no matter who they are or where they come from.

Cost of life

Mr Sunak was never forced to spell out his plans to drive up energy bills, but he did making cowardly proposals. He said he would spend £5billion to cut energy VAT and another £5billion to help pensioners and the poorest through existing benefit schemes such as Universal Credit.

This is only a fraction of what Ms Truss ended up implementing, and it is far from clear whether Mr Sunak could go back on what has already been promised.

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