Liz Truss has said she will set out “immediate action” on energy bills during her first week in office, if she becomes prime minister on Tuesday.
The Foreign Secretary, widely tipped to defeat rival Rishi Sunak when the Tory leadership winner is announced on Monday, has said she will be capable of making “difficult decisions” as prime minister to get the UK through the energy crisis.
There have been ever-louder calls in recent weeks that the Government intervene to support the most vulnerable, with energy bills set to rise to around £3,500 this winter for the average household.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss said she would appoint a council of economic advisers to help guide her and her chancellor.
She says: “I understand how challenging the cost of living crisis is for everyone. These are tough times and the months ahead will be hard.
She said that she will take “immediate action” to tackle the cost-of-living crisis for families and businesses, while also delivering a “broader plan to get our economy growing, make it more resilient and make it more competitive”.
“If elected, I plan within the first week of my new administration to set out our immediate action on energy bills and energy supply.
“A fiscal event would follow later this month from my chancellor, with a broader package of action on the economy.”
“We need to take the difficult decisions to ensure we are not in this position every autumn and winter.
“Sticking plasters and kicking the can down the road will not do. I am ready to take the tough decisions to rebuild our economy.”
The energy crisis, according to the Sunday Times, will also be the focus of Ms Truss’ address from Downing Street once she is appointed.
The paper reports it is expected to be “very short”, but that an announcement on energy will come quickly once Ms Truss takes charge, with a “fiscal event” set to take place in the coming weeks.
Throughout the campaign she has pledged to “start cutting taxes from day one” with a new Budget and Spending Review that would reverse April’s rise in national insurance and next year’s corporation tax increase from 19% to 25%.
In the Telegraph, Ms Truss said: “I recognise that many of the growth measures we take won’t have an immediate impact, but it is vital we get started now and build a better economy for the future and pay down our debt as a country and provide the future for our children.
“There will be tough decisions to be made, and I am prepared to make those tough decisions as prime minister.”
Recent days have been full of speculation about who could make up the Cabinet in a Truss administration, with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng tipped to become her chancellor.
There is also a growing expectation that the next prime minister will make an early visit to Kyiv to shore up support for Ukraine.
It comes as Mr Johnson prepares to leave office with praise from Volodymyr Zelensky ringing in his ears.
This is the moment for every Conservative to come together – and back that new leader wholeheartedly
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The Ukrainian leader, writing in the Mail on Sunday, called the outgoing prime minister a “true friend” as he paid tribute to his steadfast support for the war-torn country.
Mr Johnson used his own article in the Sunday Express to reflect on his achievements, while also urging his party to come together after a summer of in-fighting.
“This is the moment for every Conservative to come together – and back that new leader wholeheartedly.
“This is the time to put aside the disagreements of the last few weeks, fascinating though they may have been, and put the national interest first.”
“As I leave Number Ten after three tough but often exhilarating years I know just how big and demanding this job is. I also know that either candidate is more than capable of delivering for the people of this country,” he wrote.
In an interview to be broadcast on Times Radio on Sunday, Mr Johnson’s former Downing Street chief of staff and key aide Lord Udny-Lister said that his former boss is “sad”, “cross” and “shocked” by his enforced departure.
He also said that he would “never say never” about a comeback for Mr Johnson.
In the same interview, he urged Ms Truss to appoint a new ethics adviser if she becomes prime minister.
It comes after Ms Truss appeared ambivalent about making such an appointment while on the campaign trail.
“Absolutely, and I think it’s an important role, there has to be somebody there. There has to be somebody who is keeping an eye on these things,” he told the broadcaster.
Both Ms Truss and Mr Sunak will be interviewed on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, in what is likely to be a final high-profile interview for them before the result of the contest is confirmed.
In what is set to be a frenzied few days for UK politics, Mr Johnson’s successor will be announced on Monday, taking over as prime minister the following day.
Mr Johnson and his successor will go to Balmoral, rather than Buckingham Palace, for the appointment of the new prime minister on Tuesday, in a break from tradition.
The Queen will receive Mr Johnson on Tuesday at her Aberdeenshire home, where he will formally tender his resignation.
This will be followed by an audience with the new Tory leader, where she or he will be invited to form a government.