Inside PM hopeful Rishi Sunaks plan for the UK, from taxes to energy

Rishi Sunak: Economist outlines 'positives' of his fiscal policy

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  • The Economy
  • Cost of Living Crisis
  • Brexit
  • Immigration
  • Defence
  • Foreign Policy
  • Net Zero
  • The NHS
  • Rishi Sunak is currently the front-runner to succeed Liz Truss as Prime Minister, having received 188 publicly declared nominations from MPs. Leadership rival Penny Mordaunt is currently lagging behind, with just 27 public nominations. If she fails to secure 100 nominations by 2pm today, then Mr Sunak will automatically become Prime Minister, without a vote going to party members. 

    But since the leadership race began on Friday, Mr Sunak is yet to give a single radio or television interview. Mr Sunak has promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability” if he becomes Prime Minister, but where does he stand on key policy areas? Here, has summarised where the former Chancellor stands on key issues, and where he will take the country if he becomes Prime Minister this week.

    The Economy

    Mr Sunak has pledged to “fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country” at a time of “profound economic crisis”. While he opposed Ms Truss’ proposed tax cuts, describing them as “comforting fairytales”, the former Chancellor pledged to “deliver tax cuts that drive growth”.

    During September’s leadership race, he pledged to cut the bottom rate of income tax from 20 percent to just 16 percent. But said he would do so in a “way that’s reasonable”. He described Ms Truss’ plans as being “morally wrong”, as they would result in debt being passed to the next generation.

    He promised he would “never get taxes down in a way that just puts inflation up”. The former Chancellor, who oversaw record levels of Government spending during the pandemic, has suggested he will tighten the taps on spending.

    Launching his first leadership campaign earlier this year, Mr Sunak said: “We need a return to traditional Conservative economic values – and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairytales.”

    Cost of Living Crisis

    During September’s leadership race, which was won by Ms Truss, Mr Sunak said that protecting people from rising energy bills would be his “immediate priority” if he became Prime Minister.

    Mr Sunak previously pledged to temporarily scrap VAT on energy bills from October, which could save households around £160 but would cost the Exchequer around £4.3 billion.


    Mr Sunak, who backed Leave in the 2016 referendum, has pledged to overhaul remaining EU rules – something which he believes will help grow the UK economy. He has also lent his support to Ms Truss’ Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which would grant ministers the power to suspend checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    When asked about the protocol at hustings in Belfast this Summer, Mr Sunak said: “There is probably not a lot of disagreement between me and Liz on this.”


    The former Chancellor has pledged to push on with the Rwanda immigration scheme, which would see illegal migrants and asylum seekers deported to Rwanda for processing. He said he would do “whatever it takes” to make the scheme work. He has also promoted the idea of “three strikes and you’re out” for foreign criminals.

    Over the summer, Mr Sunak said he would cap the number of refugees accepted into Britain, with plans to tighten up the definition of who was eligible to claim asylum in Britain. He also promised more caseworkers and incentives to help clear the backlog of applicants.

    During September’s campaign, Mr Sunak also suggested he wanted to link illegal migration to aid and trade agreements, with clauses that would require countries to take back failed migrants. He explained: “We need to inject a healthy dose of common sense into the system, and that is what my plan does.”


    Mr Sunak has suggested he would be willing to go further than the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on Defence. However – unlike Ms Truss – he has not committed to a target of spending three percent of GDP on defence.

    He also called the target “arbitrary”, adding: “It’s not a plan”. But Mr Sunak has promised to “redouble” the UK’s efforts in Ukraine and “reinforce our policy of total support for Ukraine that Boris has so ably led.”

    Mr Sunak was also previously entangled in a row with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who claimed the leadership candidate tried to block a multi-year settlement for the Armed Forces in 2019.

    Foreign Policy

    Mr Sunak appears to have taken a more aggressive stance on China than Ms Truss, accusing the outgoing Prime Minister of having “rolled out the red carpet” for Xi Jinping. In his September campaign, Mr Sunak argued that “China and the Chinese Communist Party represent the largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century”. He has pledged to shut down the 30 Confucius Institutes in the UK and proposed a “NATO-style international alliance” to counter Chinese cyber-threats.

    The former Chancellor has said he will maintain Britain’s current approach to Russia amid the continuing war in Ukraine, suggesting he will continue to maintain the UK’s sanctions on the country.

    Net Zero

    The former Chancellor has suggested he would stick to the target of going carbon neutral by 2050. He also pledged to make the UK energy independent by 2045, saying: “We need more offshore wind, more rooftop solar and more nuclear. We need to insulate millions of homes and ensure that people know about the steps that they can take, at no cost, to improve the efficiency of their homes.” He has also pledged to streamline planning and licensing rules for green energy.

    The NHS

    While he was in office, Mr Sunak introduced a rise in National Insurance Contributions to pay for the clearing of NHS backlogs and fund social care spending. While he has not gone into detail on his plans for the NHS, he previously said: “I don’t think we can have an NHS which is underfunded and not able to deliver the care that it needs. I think you can be reassured the NHS is safe in my hands.”

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