Sunak defends taking money from deprived urban areas as he faces latest hustings with Liz Truss – UK politics live

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Rishi Sunak defends saying he took funds away from deprived urban areas

Rishi Sunak has defended his comments after a video, shared with The New Statesman magazine, shows him telling grassroots Tories in Kent that he had been working to divert funding from “deprived urban areas” towards prosperous towns.
The former chancellor said today that it is not solely “big urban areas that require that extra investment”. He told Sky News: “It’s right that those funding formulas are accurate, that they actually look at the need in different areas, measure that properly and reflect how things have changed from the past.

“And I think that’s an entirely sensible thing to be doing, because it’s not just big urban areas that require that extra investment.

“It’s also people in rural communities, it’s also people in towns and that’s what we’ve done, both as a Government in the past, what I want to do as prime minister in the future.

“Level up across the country so that no matter where people live, they feel incredible opportunities and pride in the place that they call home.”

Key events

And that brings tonight’s hustings in Eastbourne to a close.

Sunak calls for the net zero environmental target to be met in a “measured way” and not in the context of a race against another country.
“The way we’re going to solve the problem is not about making people give up the things they love or putting up all their bills, it’s about innovation”.

Sunak is then asked whether the UK should leave the European Court of Human Rights.

He replies: “We may have to, and no option should be off the table.”

Sunak added the UK needs to move away from the ECHR “definition of asylum” and use a definition that is “narrower and tighter”.

Sunak is asked what legislation he will put in place to ensure councils and local housing associations have the best quality of social housing possible.

The former chancellor says he does not have an immediate answer and thought we were already in the process of implementing the decent homes standard.

Sunak insists there “shouldn’t be top-down targets imposed” on places like Wealden in Sussex with areas of natural beauty.
He added: “And the planning inspector needs to be told that that needs to be taken into account. Under my leadership and the plans I want to put in place it will be protected. “Because I want to protect your green spaces and trust you with getting on with the job of delivering houses for your community in the way you think best.” He says developers are currently “sitting on the land” where planning permission has been approved: “Those are the plans I have outlined today, and they’re going to help you.”

Sunak says Britons today are “much more interested in changing jobs much more frequently and that’s something we should encourage and support”.

He says if he was aged 22 in 2022, he would want to “do something different” and become involved with new technology and ways of doing things.

Sunak says productivity will be key to growing the economy “and focussing on corporation tax hasn’t achieved that ... because it’s not the right tax to focus on”.
He said instead, business taxes must be cut “on the things that make a difference”.

Sunak is now facing questions. Asked how he will win a fifth term for the Tories, he said the “first thing” is to “have got through this inflation problem by then”.
The former chancellor added: “That’s why I’m particularly worried about policies that risk making it get worse and last longer. “This is a problem that isn’t just for this winter, it’s for next winter as well – and beyond.”

On demonstrations, Truss says she is “fine with peaceful protest” but people camping out in Parliament Square for weeks on end is “not the same” and it must hinge on not “harming others”.

“There is deliberately disruptive activity which isn’t just about peaceful protest, it’s about trying to disrupt democracy, it’s about trying to disrupt everyday life.

“One person’s freedom should not mean other people suffer misery.”

Truss pledges to help children deal with mental health issues resulting from Covid “when they should have been with their friends, they should have been at schools”.
She calls for more mental health support in schools to help teachers and says she would support them to offer more wraparound care for children to benefit working parents. Truss added: “One of the big problems parents face is social media and kids contacting each other and winding each other up on WhatsApp ... I’m not sure teenage girls are as bad as Tory MPs [on WhatsApp].”

This is the moment Truss was interrupted by the protesters at the start of the hustings.

‘Shame on you’: Liz Truss speech at Eastbourne hustings interrupted by climate activists – video

Truss interrupted again by protester

Truss has been interrupted again by “somebody who shouldn’t have a microphone” the audience is told.

It is unclear whether this was a member of the same protest group as earlier.

She said: “I take it as a compliment that I’m so popular with Extinction Rebellion.”

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