Ashishink warned Liz Truss’s economic strategy would harm the nation, saying it would add “fuel to the fire” and cause “misery for millions”, as he insisted his tax cuts The Bank of England’s recession forecast could be on hold.
Ms Truss, the foreign secretary, used Thursday’s televised debate to warn of a “very, very difficult time” without “bold” action rather than caution from her Tory leadership rival.
But Mr Sink, a former chancellor, responded with fears that his vision would “make the situation worse”, on a day when the bank warned that inflation could hit 13.3 per cent in October.
Interest rates were raised to the highest level in nearly three decades, from 1.25% to 1.75%, adding to the pain for mortgage holders, before the bank predicted the economy would recover from the 2008 financial crisis. It will plunge into the longest recession since.
Mr Sink told the Sky News debate: “We need to be real and fast in the Conservative Party – because the economy lights are going red and the main reason is inflation.
“I fear that Liz Truss’ plans will make the situation worse.”
He stressed the need to get inflation under control before tax cuts, adding: “But it all starts with not making the situation worse.
“Because if we just add fuel to the fire of this inflationary spiral, all of us, all of you, are just going to end up with higher mortgage rates, savings and pensions that have been eaten away, and millions of people suffering.”
Mr Sink said there were “certainly” steps that could be taken to combat the recession.
“It is not the tax burden that is causing the recession. It is simply wrong. The cause of the recession is inflation,” he added.
“So what I’m not going to do is start borrowing tens of billions of pounds, put it on the nation’s credit card, ask our children and our grandchildren to pick up the tab because it’s not right. It’s a responsibility. It is not.”
The financial focus of the battle to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister only intensified with the bank’s warnings, with rivals already outlining different strategies as they try to win over Tory members who will choose the winner. .
Ms Truss reiterated her pledge to immediately roll back the rise in National Insurance, which Mr Sink introduced when he was in No 11, as well as other taxes to stem job losses during the recession. I made the deduction.
“What the Bank of England has said today is certainly very worrying, but it is not inevitable,” he said.
“We can change outcomes and we can make it more likely that the economy will grow.
“Now is the time to be bold, because if we don’t act now, we’re headed for a very difficult time.”
Mr Sink is fighting to get off the ground against Ms Truss, after polls put him ahead of Tory members by around 32 percentage points.
Asked if he would accept the fight at any point, Mr Sink replied: “The immediate answer is no, and that’s because I’m fighting for something I believe in and I am taking my ideas across the country.
“I will fight incredibly hard for every one of your votes until the last day of this campaign.
“The stakes are really high.”
Mr Sink took some solace from the overwhelming support from members in attendance at the hands-on show at Sky’s West London studios.
Audiences were divided over Mr Johnson’s legacy, with Ms Truss’s defense of his conduct receiving a mixed response and Mr Sink accused of “stabbing Boris for his own interests”.
Ms Truss refused to say whether she would strip the outgoing prime minister of the Tory whip if a Commons inquiry found she had deliberately lied to MPs at party gate.
She said she was “not prejudicial” to the inquiry, before adding: “But I am absolutely clear that he did not mislead Parliament.”