Ms Truss and Mr Sunak clashed over their economic policies after the Bank of England warned of a long recession last night.
Rishi Sunak warned Liz Truss’s economic strategy will damage the nation, saying that pouring “fuel on the fire” will cause “misery for millions”, after she insisted her tax cuts could avert the recession forecast by the Bank of England.
Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary, used a televised debate on Thursday to warn of “very, very difficult times” without “bold” action rather than her Tory leadership rival’s caution.
The Foreign Secretary insisted a recession is not inevitable when asked about the Bank of England’s forecast for an outright recession and 13% inflation.
She told the studio audience: “What the Bank of England have said today is of course extremely worrying, but it is not inevitable. We can change the outcome and we can make it more likely that the economy grows.”
She said she wanted to keep taxes low and “do all we can to grow the economy by taking advantage of our post-Brexit freedom, unleashing investment, changing things like the procurement rules and doing things differently”.
On the other hand, the former chancellor warned Ms Truss’s plan would make the dire economic situation worse, warning of “misery for millions” by pouring “fuel on the fire”.
He said: “We in the Conservative party need to get real and fast because the lights on the economy are flashing red and the root cause is inflation.
“I’m worried that Liz Truss’s plans will make the situation worse.”
Labour shadow minister Conor McGinn used the debate as evidence that the Tories, with their “their low-growth, low-wage plans”, will not be able to fix the economic crisis.
“The two continuity candidates have no answers to sky-high inflation, rocketing energy bills and the lengthy recession the Bank of England has warned is on the horizon,” he said.