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

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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.”

Updated at 18.32 BST

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

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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”.

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

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

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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The UK business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has admitted it will be more than a month before ministers can introduce any measures to tackle the rising cost of living.

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Kwarteng, who is backing the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, to become the next leader of the Conservative party, said he was expecting a new prime minister to introduce a “support package” in an emergency budget but it could not happen until after they start work next month.

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Both Boris Johnson and the chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, are on holiday as the Bank of England warns the economy will enter the longest recession since the 2008 financial crisis. The UK is forecast to suffer an economic downturn lasting more than a year.

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Kwarteng said: “I don’t know where Boris is,” but claimed the public would not begrudge the outgoing prime minister taking a honeymoon. He went on to say he was in “regular contact” with Johnson.

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Read the full article here.

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Tony Danker, the CBI director general, has said he fears a power vacuum amid the Tory leadership contest, warning that the economic crisis “cannot wait until 5 September for action”.

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His comments came as both Boris Johnson and Nadhim Zahawi are both on holiday as the country braces for a looming economic crisis.

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He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One:

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I have no problem with people having short holidays. My fear is much more profound, which is that there will be a vacuum from now until 5 September. We need the current prime minister and the current chancellor to fill that vacuum. We need them to make decisions. We need them to make plans. We need them to reassure firms, markets and households that we are gripping this.

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We cannot wait until 5 September for action. We cannot wait until 5 September for plans and we cannot wait until 5 September for reassurance.

\n

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He added:

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I think they need to be developing these interventions that are going to help people with the cost of living in the autumn. They need to be signalling on 26 August when Ofgem signal what the price rise is going to be.

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They need to be signalling that the government has a response and an answer. And they need to be setting out growth plans and growth intentions now.

\n

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Lisa Nandy, the shadow secretary of state for levelling up, has written to Greg Clark, the levelling up secretary and Tunbridge Wells MP, about Rishi Sunak’s “scandalous” admission that he “funnelled public money away from deprived areas and gave it to affluent Tory shires”.

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The Labour MP for Wigan called on Clark to “urgently investigate” what changes were made to funding and what justified them.

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It’s scandalous that Rishi Sunak funnelled public money away from deprived areas and gave it to affluent Tory shires.

The Levelling Up Secretary needs to urgently investigate what changes were made to funding formulas and what justified the changes.

✍️ My letter to @GregClarkMP pic.twitter.com/wQHV7ESHPi

&mdash; Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) August 5, 2022

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Conservative politicians have been responding to Rishi Sunak’s remarks that he had been working to divert funding from “deprived urban areas” towards more prosperous towns.

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Foreign Office minister Zac Goldsmith said the leaked video was “one of the weirdest – and dumbest – things I’ve ever heard from a politician”.

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This is one of the weirdest – and dumbest – things I’ve ever heard from a politician https://t.co/lxFzrHGeYY

&mdash; Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) August 5, 2022

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Jake Berry, the chairman of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, said that in public Sunak “claims he wants to level up the North, but here, he boasts about trying to funnel vital investment away from deprived areas”.

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In public @RishiSunak claims he wants to level up the North, but here, he boasts about trying to funnel vital investment away from deprived areas?

He says one thing and does another – from putting up taxes to trying to block funding for our armed forces and now levelling up… https://t.co/Hwwn9fWffe

&mdash; Jake Berry MP (@JakeBerry) August 5, 2022

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But supporters of Sunak rallied around him, with Conservative Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen arguing Boris Johnson led the party to electoral victory on a pledge to invest in areas “that have been ignored at the expense of urban cities”.

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Strangely enough,most red wall areas that voted Conservative for the first time in 2019 -who have been left behind for decades -aren’t urban/city areas.Exactly the whole point of levelling up. Like the Green Book favouring London and Birmingham over Boro and tunbridge wells

&mdash; Ben Houchen (@BenHouchen) August 5, 2022

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A leaked video shows Rishi Sunak boasting to Conservative party members that he was prepared to take public money out of “deprived urban areas” to help wealthy towns, the New Statesman reports.

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The former chancellor was recorded on 29 July telling party members in Tunbridge Wells, Kent:

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I managed to start changing the funding formulas, to make sure areas like this are getting the funding they deserve because we inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone. I started the work of undoing that.

\n

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EXCLUSIVE: In a leaked video, Rishi Sunak boasted to Conservative Party members that he was prepared to take public money out of “deprived urban areas” to help wealthy towns.@REWearmouth reports: https://t.co/uZMpjKm6rG pic.twitter.com/07sSzDksMT

&mdash; The New Statesman (@NewStatesman) August 5, 2022

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Labour expressed anger at the video, telling the magazine that it was “scandalous that Rishi Sunak is openly boasting that he fixed the rules to funnel taxpayers’ money to prosperous Tory shires”.

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The shadow levelling up secretary, Lisa Nandy, added:

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This is our money. It should be distributed fairly and spent where it’s most needed – not used as a bribe to Tory members.

\n

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Robert Hayward, a Conservative peer and elections analyst, said Rishi Sunak’s performance in last night’s debate caused “a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction” of the leadership campaign.

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Last night marked the first time Sunak had “clearly led” in a debate, Lord Hayward told Sky News this morning, adding that Truss had struggled when asked about her policy U-turn on public sector pay.

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He said:

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There’s no question in my mind and the vote of the audience, it was the first time that he had clearly led in a debate.

\n

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He added:

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Liz has had the best of the last few days, no question about it, with the series of endorsements from different major personalities. I think what happened last night was there was a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction.

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It won’t necessarily have reversed it, but there will be this morning a different sense of messaging that is around.

\n

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Good morning

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The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, who is backing Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership contest, has admitted that “I don’t know where Boris is” but insisted the prime minister is in “constant contact” with him.

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Johnson and his chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, have been criticised for being on holiday on the day the Bank of England announced the biggest interest rate rise in 27 years and forecast an economic downturn lasting more than a year.

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The PM has been on holiday since Wednesday and Zahawi is away with his family and was not available for interviews in the wake of the BoE’s grim predictions.

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When asked if the PM is on holiday, Kwarteng told Times Radio:

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I don’t know where Boris is, but I’m in constant contact with him. He’s just had a wedding, I think he’s on a honeymoon and … I don’t think many people will begrudge him that.

\n

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Speaking to LBC radio, Kwarteng said he believed the chancellor was “completely on top of the situation”. He added:

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He’s completely aware of what’s going on and his officials and he are working very hard to see how best we can generally be we can deal with this.

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I think I think he’s on top of the situation. I think his arrangements are up to him.

\n

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He said it is “completely false” to say the government is doing nothing over the summer, adding on Times Radio:

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I said we’re going to have to wait four weeks for an emergency budget because that’s how we help people – it’ll be through the new chancellor, new prime minister, whoever they are, to come up with the measures. But the idea we’re doing nothing in the meantime is false.

\n

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Meanwhile, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak each took part in a televised leadership interview where the foreign secretary was challenged about the Bank’s projections as it increased interest rates by 0.5 percentage points.

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Truss claimed her tax cut plans could avert the looming recession, while Sunak stepped up his criticisms of her £30bn plan for unfunded tax cuts, claiming it would lead to “misery for millions”.

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Kwarteng, who is backing Truss to be leader, argued that carrying on with the current economic policy “is not going to cut it” and that raising taxes is “adding insult to injury”.

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He defended the foreign secretary’s tax cuts plan, arguing that taking more of people’s money through tax when their real income is being squeezed by inflation “doesn’t make any sense”.

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He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

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There is pressure on public finances but the immediate problem, as Liz always said, is one of growth.

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She talked about recession very early on, a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the leadership contest, and the risk of recession means that you can’t have rising interest rates, which we saw yesterday, and also have tighter fiscal policy. No economist in the world is going to say that the way to deal with a looming recession is to tighten monetary policy and to tighten fiscal policy at the same time.

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Here’s the agenda of the day.

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9.30am: The Office for National Statistics publishes the results of its latest survey of the social impacts of the cost of living, goods shortages and Covid-19.

","elementId":"9ea74ae5-0d3f-4671-aede-759c923758bd"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

7pm: Truss and Sunak will meet in Eastbourne tonight for hustings with party members in the southeast.

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I’ll be covering for Andrew Sparrow today. Do drop me a line if you have any questions or think I’ve missed anything. My email is leonie.chao-fong@theguardian.com or you can reach me on Twitter.

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Key events

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

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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”.

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

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

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

","elementId":"7a03f16a-e8f8-415b-9425-0c09cfd50580"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

“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.”

","elementId":"95e1d43a-8ca3-4a76-a564-0671d60ad00f"}],"attributes":{"pinned":true,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1659719919000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"18.18 BST","blockLastUpdated":1659720750000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"18.32 BST","blockFirstPublished":1659719933000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"18.18 BST","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"18.18","title":"Rishi Sunak defends saying he took funds away from deprived urban areas","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Fri 5 Aug 2022 19.45 BST","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Fri 5 Aug 2022 09.47 BST"},{"id":"62ed1b0c8f08cf8820edccac","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

The UK business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has admitted it will be more than a month before ministers can introduce any measures to tackle the rising cost of living.

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Kwarteng, who is backing the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, to become the next leader of the Conservative party, said he was expecting a new prime minister to introduce a “support package” in an emergency budget but it could not happen until after they start work next month.

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Both Boris Johnson and the chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, are on holiday as the Bank of England warns the economy will enter the longest recession since the 2008 financial crisis. The UK is forecast to suffer an economic downturn lasting more than a year.

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Kwarteng said: “I don’t know where Boris is,” but claimed the public would not begrudge the outgoing prime minister taking a honeymoon. He went on to say he was in “regular contact” with Johnson.

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Read the full article here.

","elementId":"ce65ff92-21a4-4de4-a296-f840c7f31b19"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement","url":"https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/aug/05/kwasi-kwarteng-attacks-bank-of-england-with-inflation-predicted-to-hit-13","text":"No emergency cost of living help for at least a month, says minister","prefix":"Related: ","role":"inline","elementId":"535c2502-663f-488b-92a2-9692e79f1015"}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1659706124000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"14.28 BST","blockLastUpdated":1659708119000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"15.01 BST","blockFirstPublished":1659706598000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"14.36 BST","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"14.36","title":"No emergency cost of living help for at least a month, says minister","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Fri 5 Aug 2022 19.45 BST","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Fri 5 Aug 2022 09.47 BST"},{"id":"62ed136a8f087e2e93c71dbe","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Tony Danker, the CBI director general, has said he fears a power vacuum amid the Tory leadership contest, warning that the economic crisis “cannot wait until 5 September for action”.

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His comments came as both Boris Johnson and Nadhim Zahawi are both on holiday as the country braces for a looming economic crisis.

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He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One:

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\n

I have no problem with people having short holidays. My fear is much more profound, which is that there will be a vacuum from now until 5 September. We need the current prime minister and the current chancellor to fill that vacuum. We need them to make decisions. We need them to make plans. We need them to reassure firms, markets and households that we are gripping this.

\n

We cannot wait until 5 September for action. We cannot wait until 5 September for plans and we cannot wait until 5 September for reassurance.

\n

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He added:

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\n

I think they need to be developing these interventions that are going to help people with the cost of living in the autumn. They need to be signalling on 26 August when Ofgem signal what the price rise is going to be.

\n

They need to be signalling that the government has a response and an answer. And they need to be setting out growth plans and growth intentions now.

\n

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Lisa Nandy, the shadow secretary of state for levelling up, has written to Greg Clark, the levelling up secretary and Tunbridge Wells MP, about Rishi Sunak’s “scandalous” admission that he “funnelled public money away from deprived areas and gave it to affluent Tory shires”.

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The Labour MP for Wigan called on Clark to “urgently investigate” what changes were made to funding and what justified them.

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It’s scandalous that Rishi Sunak funnelled public money away from deprived areas and gave it to affluent Tory shires.

The Levelling Up Secretary needs to urgently investigate what changes were made to funding formulas and what justified the changes.

✍️ My letter to @GregClarkMP pic.twitter.com/wQHV7ESHPi

&mdash; Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) August 5, 2022

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Conservative politicians have been responding to Rishi Sunak’s remarks that he had been working to divert funding from “deprived urban areas” towards more prosperous towns.

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Foreign Office minister Zac Goldsmith said the leaked video was “one of the weirdest – and dumbest – things I’ve ever heard from a politician”.

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This is one of the weirdest – and dumbest – things I’ve ever heard from a politician https://t.co/lxFzrHGeYY

&mdash; Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) August 5, 2022

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Jake Berry, the chairman of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, said that in public Sunak “claims he wants to level up the North, but here, he boasts about trying to funnel vital investment away from deprived areas”.

","elementId":"778d4b29-5b14-49c0-ae57-e8d611e1c1c3"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement","html":"

In public @RishiSunak claims he wants to level up the North, but here, he boasts about trying to funnel vital investment away from deprived areas?

He says one thing and does another – from putting up taxes to trying to block funding for our armed forces and now levelling up… https://t.co/Hwwn9fWffe

&mdash; Jake Berry MP (@JakeBerry) August 5, 2022

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But supporters of Sunak rallied around him, with Conservative Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen arguing Boris Johnson led the party to electoral victory on a pledge to invest in areas “that have been ignored at the expense of urban cities”.

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Strangely enough,most red wall areas that voted Conservative for the first time in 2019 -who have been left behind for decades -aren’t urban/city areas.Exactly the whole point of levelling up. Like the Green Book favouring London and Birmingham over Boro and tunbridge wells

&mdash; Ben Houchen (@BenHouchen) August 5, 2022

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A leaked video shows Rishi Sunak boasting to Conservative party members that he was prepared to take public money out of “deprived urban areas” to help wealthy towns, the New Statesman reports.

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The former chancellor was recorded on 29 July telling party members in Tunbridge Wells, Kent:

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\n

I managed to start changing the funding formulas, to make sure areas like this are getting the funding they deserve because we inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone. I started the work of undoing that.

\n

","elementId":"c88823b8-e501-46d4-a3a9-9dda91d433c2"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement","html":"

EXCLUSIVE: In a leaked video, Rishi Sunak boasted to Conservative Party members that he was prepared to take public money out of “deprived urban areas” to help wealthy towns.@REWearmouth reports: https://t.co/uZMpjKm6rG pic.twitter.com/07sSzDksMT

&mdash; The New Statesman (@NewStatesman) August 5, 2022

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Labour expressed anger at the video, telling the magazine that it was “scandalous that Rishi Sunak is openly boasting that he fixed the rules to funnel taxpayers’ money to prosperous Tory shires”.

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The shadow levelling up secretary, Lisa Nandy, added:

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\n

This is our money. It should be distributed fairly and spent where it’s most needed – not used as a bribe to Tory members.

\n

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Robert Hayward, a Conservative peer and elections analyst, said Rishi Sunak’s performance in last night’s debate caused “a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction” of the leadership campaign.

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Last night marked the first time Sunak had “clearly led” in a debate, Lord Hayward told Sky News this morning, adding that Truss had struggled when asked about her policy U-turn on public sector pay.

","elementId":"2392993a-66c6-45ab-a05a-22428501e4dc"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

He said:

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\n

There’s no question in my mind and the vote of the audience, it was the first time that he had clearly led in a debate.

\n

","elementId":"360e2443-2813-4d94-8bda-5eba8d07ddfa"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

He added:

","elementId":"00f2b536-7289-48bd-ace1-52ff7695529a"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement","html":"

\n

Liz has had the best of the last few days, no question about it, with the series of endorsements from different major personalities. I think what happened last night was there was a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction.

\n

It won’t necessarily have reversed it, but there will be this morning a different sense of messaging that is around.

\n

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Good morning

","elementId":"7328e3ac-d587-44b0-9fe0-57fbc328652d"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, who is backing Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership contest, has admitted that “I don’t know where Boris is” but insisted the prime minister is in “constant contact” with him.

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Johnson and his chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, have been criticised for being on holiday on the day the Bank of England announced the biggest interest rate rise in 27 years and forecast an economic downturn lasting more than a year.

","elementId":"8178f7f6-81a6-4c93-afb2-57581eedb284"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

The PM has been on holiday since Wednesday and Zahawi is away with his family and was not available for interviews in the wake of the BoE’s grim predictions.

","elementId":"55058d96-a531-4ea0-827e-67fbecea184a"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

When asked if the PM is on holiday, Kwarteng told Times Radio:

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\n

I don’t know where Boris is, but I’m in constant contact with him. He’s just had a wedding, I think he’s on a honeymoon and … I don’t think many people will begrudge him that.

\n

","elementId":"20757698-d9cb-4178-a273-2726027f918c"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Speaking to LBC radio, Kwarteng said he believed the chancellor was “completely on top of the situation”. He added:

","elementId":"9c165c97-0283-45be-8c4a-e38ae8742fd6"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement","html":"

\n

He’s completely aware of what’s going on and his officials and he are working very hard to see how best we can generally be we can deal with this.

\n

I think I think he’s on top of the situation. I think his arrangements are up to him.

\n

","elementId":"df08a0df-4115-44f4-b4df-9dae8b5dd825"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

He said it is “completely false” to say the government is doing nothing over the summer, adding on Times Radio:

","elementId":"9aa33d6a-0bed-4e06-95dd-dd2e301c0f8d"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement","html":"

\n

I said we’re going to have to wait four weeks for an emergency budget because that’s how we help people – it’ll be through the new chancellor, new prime minister, whoever they are, to come up with the measures. But the idea we’re doing nothing in the meantime is false.

\n

","elementId":"663c361f-2421-44c3-b4d8-ab286b71f83b"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Meanwhile, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak each took part in a televised leadership interview where the foreign secretary was challenged about the Bank’s projections as it increased interest rates by 0.5 percentage points.

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Truss claimed her tax cut plans could avert the looming recession, while Sunak stepped up his criticisms of her £30bn plan for unfunded tax cuts, claiming it would lead to “misery for millions”.

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Kwarteng, who is backing Truss to be leader, argued that carrying on with the current economic policy “is not going to cut it” and that raising taxes is “adding insult to injury”.

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He defended the foreign secretary’s tax cuts plan, arguing that taking more of people’s money through tax when their real income is being squeezed by inflation “doesn’t make any sense”.

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He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

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There is pressure on public finances but the immediate problem, as Liz always said, is one of growth.

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She talked about recession very early on, a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the leadership contest, and the risk of recession means that you can’t have rising interest rates, which we saw yesterday, and also have tighter fiscal policy. No economist in the world is going to say that the way to deal with a looming recession is to tighten monetary policy and to tighten fiscal policy at the same time.

\n

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Here’s the agenda of the day.

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9.30am: The Office for National Statistics publishes the results of its latest survey of the social impacts of the cost of living, goods shortages and Covid-19.

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7pm: Truss and Sunak will meet in Eastbourne tonight for hustings with party members in the southeast.

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I’ll be covering for Andrew Sparrow today. Do drop me a line if you have any questions or think I’ve missed anything. My email is leonie.chao-fong@theguardian.com or you can reach me on Twitter.

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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.”

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.

Updated at 19.13 BST

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.

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&mdash; Jacob Young MP (@JacobYoungMP) August 5, 2022

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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.”

Updated at 18.32 BST

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.

The Guardian

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