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Sunak defends taking money from deprived urban areas as he faces latest hustings with Liz Truss – UK politics live


Rishi Sunak defends saying he took funds away from deprived urban areas

Rishi Sunak has defended his comments after a video, shared with The New Statesman magazine, shows him telling grassroots Tories in Kent that he had been working to divert funding from “deprived urban areas” towards prosperous towns.
The former chancellor said today that it is not solely “big urban areas that require that extra investment”. He told Sky News: “It’s right that those funding formulas are accurate, that they actually look at the need in different areas, measure that properly and reflect how things have changed from the past.

“And I think that’s an entirely sensible thing to be doing, because it’s not just big urban areas that require that extra investment.

“It’s also people in rural communities, it’s also people in towns and that’s what we’ve done, both as a Government in the past, what I want to do as prime minister in the future.

“Level up across the country so that no matter where people live, they feel incredible opportunities and pride in the place that they call home.”

Key events

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The climate activists who earlier disrupted Liz Truss’ speech at the Conservative leadership hustings have released a statement.
Green New Deal Rising said five members “stood up and interrupted” the leadership hopeful’s opening remarks to “protest the rising cost of energy bills and the climate crisis”.

Truss is now facing questions and reiterates that people should be able to use their rental history to get a mortgage and pledged to look at the student loan situation.
“To ensure students and ex-students are getting a fair deal,” she said. “Fundamentally, what we need to do is show people there is hope.”

Only around a third of tonight’s audience raise their hands when asked if they are “more than 90 per cent sure” who they are supporting in the leadership race with one month to go.

Sunak continues to try and repair the damage from the video footage which showed him saying he diverted funding from deprived urban areas towards prosperous towns.
He said: “I want to level up everywhere. And as you may have seen from a video clip that’s online, I don’t believe that’s just about our very large urban cities.

“I believe that’s about investing and levelling up in small towns, in rural towns, in coastal communities like those here in the south-east.”

Sunak takes aim at Truss’s fiscal policies, which he says would make the inflationary spiral worse.
“We’re going to [act] responsibly by being disciplined on financial services and our economy.”

A protester interrupts Liz Truss’s speech during a hustings event in Eastbourne, as part of the campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister.
A protester interrupts Liz Truss’s speech during a hustings event in Eastbourne, as part of the campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Dominic Raab introduces Rishi Sunak on stage.

On the Covid support he offered, the justice secretary says: “When you needed him, Rishi was there for you.
“And I know as we face another global challenge, the fight against inflation, Rishi is the credible candidate with a credible plan to get inflation down, and to cut taxes, but when it will help, not hurt people. “Because the alternative choice in this contest is unfunded tax cuts to the tune of £50billion which will just put more debt on our children’s shoulders. That’s not fair, that’s not Conservative.”

On the issue of migrants crossing the Channel, Truss says she spoke to her French counterpart last week “to make it very clear that we expect French border guards to be working all hours in Dover to make sure that our border is protected”.

The interruption prompts Truss to give her view on what she says are “the militant people who try and disrupt our country and try and disrupt our democratic processes and our essential services”.

“I would legislate immediately to make sure that we stand up to Extinction Rebellion… and I will never, ever, ever allow our democracy to be disrupted by militant activists.”

Truss interrupted by environmental activists

Liz Truss is first on stage and is interrupted by a heckler holding a placard, who is booed by the audience and escorted out the venue by security staff.

Former government minister Nusrat Ghani backs Liz Truss

Nusrat Ghani has announced she is supporting Liz Truss at the hustings.

The MP for Wealden praises Truss’s “bold and conservative” plan, insisting she will “defend the unity of our nation and protect the peace in Northern Ireland”.

Because of her role within the 1922 Committee, Ghani could not back a candidate until this stage of the contest.

Tory MPs Jacob Young and Jake Berry clash on Twitter over that Sunak video. Expect this to be one of the key issues raised in the hustings.

Truss and Sunak to go head-to-head again at hustings at 7pm

The latest Conservative Party leadership hustings is taking place at 7pm in Eastbourne, you can follow all the action here.

Liz Truss has been accused by Labour of being “deeply irresponsible” for threatening to tinker with the Bank of England’s mandate on the brink of a recession.

The shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, attacked the Tory leadership frontrunner after Truss and her allies repeatedly questioned the performance of the Bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, and said she would review the institution’s remit.

“This is deeply irresponsible from a Conservative leadership candidate. It creates huge uncertainty that will hold back vital investment in our economy,” Reeves said.

Rishi Sunak defends saying he took funds away from deprived urban areas

Rishi Sunak has defended his comments after a video, shared with The New Statesman magazine, shows him telling grassroots Tories in Kent that he had been working to divert funding from “deprived urban areas” towards prosperous towns.
The former chancellor said today that it is not solely “big urban areas that require that extra investment”. He told Sky News: “It’s right that those funding formulas are accurate, that they actually look at the need in different areas, measure that properly and reflect how things have changed from the past.

“And I think that’s an entirely sensible thing to be doing, because it’s not just big urban areas that require that extra investment.

“It’s also people in rural communities, it’s also people in towns and that’s what we’ve done, both as a Government in the past, what I want to do as prime minister in the future.

“Level up across the country so that no matter where people live, they feel incredible opportunities and pride in the place that they call home.”

Conservative former minister Philip Dunne believes Rishi Sunak is the candidate able to “attract people to come back to the Conservatives”.

The MP for Ludlow announced he is a Sunak supporter on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, saying: “I have done a survey of my constituents. I’ve had 1,250 people respond and of the Conservative members about 250 replied, and they were 35% for Liz Truss and 33% for Rishi Sunak.

“But importantly, 32% undecided. So I think this is all to play for. I think that what we need for the next prime minister is somebody who is going to be able to unite the party and attract people to come back to the Conservatives, who we’ve lost in recent months.

“And I think that from the evidence of my survey, where it’s four and a half to one for those who didn’t vote Conservative in favour of Rishi Sunak, I’m going to support Rishi Sunak for prime minister.”

A majority of Britons believe Rishi Sunak would be the best candidate to end a recession, according to the latest YouGov poll.
When asked which of the leadership candidates would be best able to end a recession, 19% of respondents chose Sunak compared to 12% who said Liz Truss. However, almost half, 46%, said “neither”.

Councils across England have written to the health secretary, Steve Barclay, warning that social care reforms could push some local authorities “over the financial edge” and force others to cut back on “vital council services”, ITV News reports.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has written a letter to Barclay calling for key reforms – such as an £86,000 cap on the costs of care and a new means-tested system – to be delayed by six months to urgently ease pressure on councils.

The letter, written on behalf of the LGA by David Fothergill, leader of the Conservative group on Somerset Council, and with the backing of many other Tory council leaders, says:

The serious and precarious nature of our existing adult social care system, and the very real consequences of current pressures on people who draw on care and support, is unquestionable.

It adds that much of the immediate challenge “can be traced back to historic under-funding, which continues to this day on a significant level.”

The letter lists concerns about unpaid carers, providers closing down or handing back contracts, and reductions in quality and choice.

Fothergill writes:

Social care’s lack of capacity to deliver the care that people need has been evidenced time and time again and the government needs to step in.

If it doesn’t, we can expect one of the most challenging winters in recent times, with knock-on effects that will continue to impact on people and their loved ones.

According to ITV News, government sources said that while they wanted to work constructively with the sector, they did not accept any need to lengthen the timetable.

Gwyn Topham

Gwyn Topham

Managers employed by Network Rail have voted to accept a 4% pay offer in a move seized on by the government as a breakthrough in the wider rail strikes dispute.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) confirmed its management-grade members had accepted the deal, which should ensure a skeleton service will continue to run during planned strikes in August.

The decision was announced the day after 2,500 other TSSA members at Network Rail confirmed they would take action alongside 40,000 Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) members, including signallers and train operating staff, on Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 August.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said it was “fantastic news”, adding:

This acceptance by these TSSA members will mean that we have a strong, reliable contingency staff for any future strikes and will be able to run services for passengers and minimise disruption to lives of everyday people.

Unions working with industry instead of against is the only way forward out of this dispute and a necessary step to end these destructive strikes and to put our railways on a secure footing for the future.

Read the full article here.





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