Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt announce separate Conservative leadership bids
Both promised to cancel Rishi Sunak's planned rise in corporation tax
Former health secretaries Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid have both pledged to slash corporation tax as they announced separate bids for the Tory leadership.
It comes after two serving Cabinet ministers, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, revealed their intention to run for the top job in the space of an hour.
Declaring their candidacies in The Telegraph, Mr Hunt and Mr Javid both said they would not only scrap the former chancellor’s plans to raise corporation tax from 19% to 25% in April, but reduce the rate to 15%.
Mr Zahawi, Rishi Sunak’s successor, had said earlier this week that “everything is on the table” when questioned over the tax rise.
The leadership contenders’ timescales for the change are different, with Mr Hunt slashing the tax to 15p in his first autumn Budget, while Mr Javid would set a “glide path”.
Mr Javid also said he would scrap the Government’s controversial national insurance hike, bring forward the planned 1p income tax cut to next year, and introduce a further “significant” temporary reduction on fuel duty.
The pair spelled out their economic plans in separate interviews with the newspaper.
In addition to cutting corporation tax, Mr Hunt would remove business rates for five years for the communities most in need.
Most of those areas are in the so-called “Red Wall” of traditional Labour heartlands, the newspaper said, with a quarter of locations in England and Wales in line for the tax break.
Scotland and Northern Ireland would get money to match the policy.
“What matters is wealth creation, which means that people don’t feel that they need to leave a Bolton or a Bolsover because they can get better jobs in Manchester or London. They can actually stay there,” Mr Hunt said.
“That means helping them have opportunities at home that makes talented people want to stay, not go.”
Meanwhile, he pledged to continue pushing legislation to overwrite parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol through Parliament.
Mr Javid said his plan for the economy would cover both short-term measures – including a new package of support worth up to £5 billion to help with energy bills – and a “longer-term” vision for tax reform.
He said: “The Government can’t prevent the impact of high price rises on everyone. You can’t mitigate everything.
“The long way out of this, the better way, is to turbo growth. I’ve always believed in free markets, in low taxation, in light regulation, as the conditions that are necessary for growth.
“It was true 20 to 30 years ago, it was true under Margaret Thatcher, and it’s true now, because it’s how economies grow and how they work.”