Tory leadership race: What have Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss pledged for the country?

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have been fleshing out their policy positions on a host of key issues as the race to become prime minister enters its final stage.

The remaining two leadership contenders will go head-to-head over a summer of campaigning in a bid to woo some 160,000 Tory party members with their visions for the country.

This is where they stand on the key issues:

Politics Hub: Live updates as leadership contest enters final stage

Taxes and spending

Rishi Sunak: The former chancellor has pitched himself as the fiscally conservative candidate, saying he wants to hold off on large tax cuts until inflation is under control.

However, as he battles to make up ground on the foreign secretary, he has said that he will scrap the 5% VAT rate on household energy bills for one year if the price cap rises above £3,000 in October, in order to shave £160 off the average family's bill.

He also wants to cut the basic rate of income tax from 20p in the pound to 16p by the end of the next parliament, saying this will be funded by "additional tax receipts generated by forecast economic growth".

On spending, Mr Sunak has repeatedly said that the nation must balance its books following the COVID pandemic, claiming his rival's plans for large tax cuts will "add to the country's credit card bill".

He says he will continue with a planned rise in National Insurance and a corporation tax rise from 19% to 25% next year.

He also wants to take a "tough stance" on public sector pay and avoid a wage price spiral.

Liz Truss: The foreign secretary has outlined £30bn of tax cuts if she was to take office, including scrapping the proposed rise in corporation tax and reversing the government's National Insurance hike.

She also wants to scrap what is known as the "green levy" - part of your energy bill that pays for social and green projects - to ease the cost of living for families.

She has said she wants a "complete review" of the tax system, pledging reforms to prevent people from being penalised for taking time off work to care for family members or children.

She confirmed she will "look at" inheritance tax as part of that review, telling a hustings in Leeds that she wants to reward people who "work hard, earn money and want to pass it onto their children".

The cabinet minister has said she will pay for her tax cuts by spreading the UK's COVID debt over a "longer-term footing" akin to the nation's war debt in the 1940s.

On public spending, she pledged a "war on waste" in Whitehall to save around £11bn a year, but was forced into a U-turn just hours later after a backlash because it could have resulted in people outside London and the South East earning less.


Rishi Sunak: Mr Sunak has vowed to introduce a temporary £10 fine for NHS patients who fail to attend GP appointments, and create a "vaccine style taskforce" to "cut bureaucracy and waste, and drive radical reforms".

He said he would "eliminate one year waits" by September 2024 - six months earlier than the current government target - and ensure everyone who has been waiting more than 18 weeks for a procedure is contacted by their trust within 100 days.

He has also promised to deliver 200 community diagnostics hubs by March 2024, offering things like MRI and CT scans.

Liz Truss: Ms Truss has said she wants to see layers of management in the health service stripped away.

She has said she is "completely committed" to the £36bn in extra money that was announced to address the COVID backlog last year through the NI rise - but says this will be funded by general taxation rather than a National Insurance increase.


Rishi Sunak: During the first hustings event with Conservative members, Mr Sunak said he would support the creation of more grammar schools, something that was banned under Labour 20 years ago.

But it is understood he only meant expanding existing selective schools, rather than creating new ones.

Liz Truss: Ms Truss has pitched herself as the "education prime minister" with a six-point plan that includes replacing failing academies with "a new wave of free schools" and improving maths and literacy standards.

She also wants to reform the admissions procedures for Oxford and Cambridge and other top universities "so students who get top grades in their A-levels would be automatically invited to apply".


Rishi Sunak: The Leave-backing former chancellor has pledged to "capitalise" on Brexit freedoms by scrapping or reforming all remaining EU rules on the UK's statute books by the next election.

He has promised to trigger economic growth by scrapping regulations on financial services that he says have been inherited from the EU, and wants to replace existing data protection rules (GDPR) to help UK technology firms innovate.

Liz Truss: Ms Truss has promised a "red tape bonfire" of EU laws, pledging to review all the rules retained in the UK post-Brexit by the end of 2023.

The former environment secretary said removing "onerous EU regulations" will free farmers to grow more sustainable and high-quality British food, improving the nation's food security.

She has also promised to tackle the labour shortages in farming, caused in part by post-Brexit freedom of movement restrictions, by extending the seasonal workers scheme.

She argues she can be trusted with Brexit, despite supporting Remain in the 2016 referendum, because of her role in introducing the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill - which could override parts of the post-Brexit deal between the UK and the EU.

Levelling Up

Rishi Sunak: Mr Sunak has signed up to four pledges from the Northern Research group of Tory MPs.

These include a commitment to a new minister for the North, more devolution, a levelling-up formula to ensure "left behind" areas receive the funding they need, and two new vocational colleges that will be "the vocational equivalent of Oxford and Cambridge", dubbed "Voxbridge".

On improving transport links in the North, Mr Sunak has said he will "engage with local leaders on the future of transport investments which have the potential to deliver new capacity and faster journey times" - including Northern Powerhouse Rail, which was downgraded last year.

Liz Truss: Ms Truss has also signed up for the four pledges from the Northern Research group.

She has said she'll level up "in a Conservative way", meaning low tax zones with lower businesses rates and fewer planning restrictions to encourage investment in left behind areas,

In a major U-turn on current government policy, Ms Truss has said she is "completely committed" to building Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, meaning new high-speed connections between Liverpool and Leeds via Manchester.


Rishi Sunak: Mr Sunak has vowed to continue the government's controversial scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, saying he will "do what it takes" to get it up and running following a series of legal challenges.

He has unveiled a 10-point plan to tackle immigration, including placing a cap on refugee numbers each year and tightening the definition of what qualifies for asylum.

Liz Truss: Ms Truss has also pledged her commitment to the Rwanda scheme, saying she would like to expand it to other countries.

She has also said she will increase frontline Border Force capacity by 20% and double Border Force Maritime staffing levels to "allow the UK to double the number of Channel patrols".


Rishi Sunak: Says he would create a new criminal offence of belonging to or facilitating grooming gangs and a new offence for "downblousing" (taking photos down a woman's top without her consent).

He has also said he would crack down on graffiti and littering by allowing local authorities to double the fines for such offences and would consider lowering the damage threshold for offenders to be jailed.

Liz Truss: Has vowed to criminalise street harassment such as catcalling and create a national domestic abuse register, which would include coercive and controlling behaviour and financial abuse.

She also wants to impose targets on police to cut murders by one-fifth by the end of this parliament.

Read More:
Who is Liz Truss? The 'new Iron lady' and 'continuity candidate' vying to be PM
Who is Rishi Sunak? The contender for PM who 'stabbed Johnson in the front'


Rishi Sunak: Mr Sunak has vowed to block housebuilding on the green belt if he becomes prime minister, saying his government's planning policy would be run according to the motto of "brownfield, brownfield, brownfield".

Liz Truss: Ms Truss has pledged to rip up "Stalinist" housing targets and says she wants to make it quicker and easier for developers to build on brownfield land in "opportunity areas" by reforming planning laws.

She also wants to allow rent payments to form part of a credit check to get more young people on the housing ladder by proving they can afford a mortgage.


Rishi Sunak: Mr Sunak has said he is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

He also wants to keep the ban on building any new onshore windfarms, but start a massive expansion in offshore wind and introduce a legal target to make Britain energy self-sufficient by 2045.

Liz Truss: Ms Truss also backs the net zero push, but her pledge to pause green levies on domestic energy bills could damage the target.

She says there is a strong case for lifting the ban on fracking and wants to move away from the EU's habitat directive in favour of a stronger British biodiversity target.

Defence and foreign affairs

Rishi Sunak: Mr Sunak views the NATO target of 2% of GDP as a "floor and not a ceiling" and notes it is set to rise to 2.5% "over time" but refuses to set "arbitrary targets".

Has promised to close all 30 of Beijing's Confucius Institutes in the UK and "kick the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) out of our universities", declaring China "the biggest-long term threat to Britain".

Liz Truss: Ms Truss has pledged to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 and strengthen the intelligence services.

She has also said the current plan to cut the size of the Army to 72,500 in 2025 is "up for review".

On China, her campaign team said she "helped lead the international response to increased Chinese aggression" as foreign secretary and "this will only continue when she becomes prime minister".