Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Sunak suggests he could offer hundreds of pounds extra in cost-of-living support

Rishi Sunak (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)
Rishi Sunak (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Rishi Sunak has suggested he could offer hundreds of pounds in extra support to those shouldering the rising cost-of-living burden after analysts delivered a shock warning that energy bills could top £4,200 in the new year.

The two remaining contenders in the Tory leadership race faced renewed calls to spell out how they would help after Cornwall Insight forecast average bills could hit about £3,582 in October, from £1,971 today, before rising further in January.

The former chancellor has said he has “no doubt” extra support will be needed to get people through the winter, and he is “confident” he can find the money needed to ease the strain from Government efficiency savings.

Quizzed on how much extra he would be prepared to hand out, Mr Sunak told ITV News that bills look set to increase by “a few hundred pounds more”, and “that’s the kind of scale that I did before”.

Pressed on whether “we’re talking a few hundred pounds more here”, he said: “Yes.”

Liz Truss, meanwhile, refused to commit to extra support for families struggling with the cost of living, again insisting her priority was driving through tax cuts to kick-start the economy.

Speaking during a campaign visit to Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, the Foreign Secretary said that if she became prime minister she would “see what the situation is like” in the autumn.

However, in a fresh swipe at Mr Sunak’s record at the Treasury, she said that with the tax burden at a 70-year high, the priority had to be economic growth, with a package of emergency tax cuts.

“What I am talking about is enabling people to keep more money in their own pockets,” she said.

“What I don’t believe in is taxing people to the highest level in 70 years and then giving them their own money back. We are Conservatives. We believe in low taxes.

“Of course, we will need to deal with the circumstances as they arise. We will see what the situation is like in the autumn, but I am committed to making sure people are supported and I am committed to growing the economy.”

Mr Sunak, in his interview with ITV News, claimed Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans would not provide “any help” for the least well-off.

He acknowledged he is “definitely the underdog” in the race to be the next prime minister, but said he is “giving it absolutely everything I’ve got”.

The former chancellor also addressed his controversial comments about diverting funding from “deprived urban areas”, insisting it is “incredibly wrong” to suggest there is no poverty elsewhere.

According to the New Statesman magazine, the Tory leadership hopeful told party members in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, that he had started changing public funding formulas to ensure “areas like this are getting the funding they deserve”.

But Mr Sunak told ITV “it’s not about Tunbridge Wells”, arguing that he had been speaking to people in a “broader rural area”.

Asked if the Treasury was pumping too much money into places like the site of his interview on Tuesday, near Newcastle, he said: “Yeah.”

He added: “There are pockets of poverty that exist everywhere. They’re not just in big urban cities. They’re in small towns. They’re in smaller cities. They are in rural areas. There’s poverty everywhere that we need to tackle and make sure gets the investment it needs.”

Earlier, Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis appealed to the two contenders to bury their differences to tackle the problem together, warning the country was facing a “national cataclysm”.

“They are all in the same party, let’s call on them to come together for the good of the nation rather than personal point-scoring,” he said.

Ms Truss has been under fire from Mr Sunak after she suggested at the weekend that there should be no more “handouts”.

A spokesman for his campaign said: “Liz Truss has doubled down, refusing five times to say she will provide direct support for British families and pensioners this winter.

“Liz’s plan will not touch the sides for the majority of British families this winter and pensioners will get no help whatsoever. It seems she is divorced from reality.”

Mr Sunak has pointed out that, as chancellor, he provided £15.3 billion in targeted support for families – with at least £1,200 for eight million of the most vulnerable households.

In a statement, he said that if he became prime minister, he would act again once it became clear how much bills would rise.

However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who is backing Ms Truss, said the scale of the impending price rises meant it was “fraudulent” to suggest the problem could be resolved by Government alone.

“We are all feeling it in our pocket. And the idea there is a magic wand coming out of Whitehall – no matter who is prime minister, including the Labour Party – is fraudulent to say so,” he said.

Ms Truss also hit back at a warning by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who supports Mr Sunak, that her plan for emergency tax cuts was an “electoral suicide note” that could let in a Labour government.

“I don’t agree with these portents of doom. I don’t agree with this declinist talk, I believe our country’s best days are ahead of us,” she said.