Conservative leadership policies: where are the candidates?

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In just weeks, members of the Conservative Party will decide Britain’s next prime minister after Boris Johnson announced last month that he would step down following a wave of resignations by members of his government that demolished his political authority.

The two leadership candidates – Liz Truss, foreign secretary and current frontrunner, and Rishi Sunak, former chancellor – laid out their respective visions for the country in a series of televised debates and hustings.

In the campaign so far, the candidates have clashed over issues such as tax cuts and support to help Britons through the cost of living crisis. With inflation at its highest level in 40 years and rising, household energy bills set to climb to £4,427 in April and further public sector strikes on the horizon, Johnson’s successor will have to contend to daunting decisions when announced on September 5.

Below, the Financial Times has provided an overview of each candidate’s stance on eight key UK policy areas.

Economy

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Pledged to boost economic growth by introducing tax cuts worth more than £30billion a year. Claims that Sunak’s policies would plunge Britain into recession. She would reverse her corporate tax hike and introduce a one-year moratorium on the green energy tax to tackle the cost of living crisis. Wants to review the Bank of England’s mandate to ensure it is ‘tough enough on inflation’.

sunak

Promised to “return to traditional conservative economic values” and denounced Truss’ “fairy tale economy”. Cut taxes once the UK brings inflation under control and cut the basic rate of income tax to 19% by 2024. Wants to remove VAT on household energy bills for next year . Warned that removing central bank independence in rate setting would be a “mistake”.

Brexit

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Architect of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which would replace part of Johnson’s Brexit deal governing trade in the region. Promised a “bonfire” of EU bureaucracy and pledged to scrap any EU-derived legislation by the end of 2023, if found to be hampering UK economic growth.

Sunak

Raised concerns within the cabinet about the economic impact of a row with Brussels over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade deals. Promised to set up a new Brexit Delivery Department to review existing EU law on UK law books.

Education

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Committed to reforming the sector, including a ‘new wave’ of tuition-free schools to replace failing academies and overhauling Oxbridge’s admissions system, ensuring all triple A* students automatically have the opportunity to apply to Oxford or Cambridge University.

sunak

Promised to crack down on college degrees that “put students into debt” but do not improve their earning potential. Promised to introduce a ‘British Baccalaureate’ which would require secondary school pupils to study maths and English until they are 18.

Upgrade

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Promised to “level the country the Conservative way” by promoting regional growth through low-tax, low-regulation “investment zones” and the creation of more directly elected mayors. Pledged to build Northern Powerhouse Rail, a £43billion line linking Hull and Liverpool.

sunak

Pledged to continue Johnson’s agenda on tackling regional inequality in the UK, including through the creation of more directly elected mayors. Would have a cabinet minister to level and ensure the Treasury approves infrastructure projects outside the south of England.

Immigration

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Crack down on ‘dreadful’ gangs illegally smuggling people across the Channel, increase Border Force manpower by 20% and appoint a Home Office minister to oversee the force. Truss promised to pursue more migration partnerships with third countries such as the Rwanda program.

Sunak

The former chancellor has outlined a 10-point plan to secure Britain’s borders. This includes calling on Parliament to set an annual cap on the number of refugees entering the UK each year and setting up an intergovernmental ‘small boat task force’ to take control of migrant crossings in the UK. Sleeve.

net zero

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Promised to maintain the net zero goal but criticized the goal, saying she wanted to find “better ways to achieve net zero” that “do not harm people and businesses”. Supports fracking where there is local support and criticizes the use of solar panels on farmland.

sunak

Commitment to the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Wants to create a task force on energy security, deregulation to stimulate gas production in the North Sea and develop renewable energy sources such as the offshore wind and nuclear energy. Also supports fracturing in areas where there is support.

union

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Described herself as a ‘child of the union’ and called Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon an ‘attention seeker’. Wants to grant MSPs parliamentary privilege, which would give them legal immunity from prosecution for statements made in parliament.

Sunak

Pledged to do ‘anything and everything’ to preserve the union, and would expect UK ministers to be more visible in Scotland, and wants Holyrood to publish regular performance data.

NHS

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Will reverse the hike in National Insurance, designed to fund social care and ease the NHS backlog. But also said she would prioritize funding for social care. Wants to overhaul NHS pensions and support doctors and nurses by ‘removing some of the central dictates’ and having fewer levels of management in the health service.

sunak

Promised to create a vaccine-like task force to reduce bureaucracy. Proposed £10 fines for patients who miss GP and hospital appointments. Committed to establishing 200 diagnostic centers by March 2024 to reduce treatment backlogs. He is expected to stick to the National Insurance hike, which he has presented as chancellor.

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