Tax policy is becoming a key issue among the Tory leadership contenders.

Former health secretaries Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid, who both announced their candidacies on Saturday, said they would cut corporation tax.

Both men said they would scrap the government’s current plans to raise the tax from 19% to 25% and instead cut it to 15%.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Mr Hunt said:

• Cut the corporate tax rate in his first autumn budget
• Eliminate business rates for five years for communities most in need
• Keep National Insurance increases in place because ‘NHS needs money’

He said: “I would like to see income tax come down, but it has to be done in a sustainable way.

“It cannot be election bribery and it depends on growth. What you need is an income tax cut that’s for life, not for Christmas.

“That means you start with the fact that we’re going to grow the economy, and then you’re in a position.”

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In the same newspaper, Mr Javid promised:

• Reverse the rise in National Insurance that came into force during his time as Health Secretary to fund the NHS and social care.
• Cut corporate tax by 1 percentage point per year until it reaches 15%
• Bring forward the planned income tax cut of 1 pence to next year
• Introduce a “significant” temporary reduction in fuel duty

Mr Javid 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 best way is turbo growth.

“I’ve always believed in free markets, low taxation, light regulation as the conditions necessary for growth.”

Earlier, Chancellor Nadhim Zahavi, who is also running for the top job, promised to cut taxes for individuals, families and businesses.

Others who have declared that they want to lead the party include Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Attorney-General Suella Braverman, ex-minister Kemi Badenach and senior Tory Tom Tugendhat.

Mr Sunak, who resigned as chancellor under Boris Johnson last week, is seen as the front-runner, but some say his policies while chancellor will limit his appeal in the leadership race.

Former minister Steve Baker, who is backing Ms Braverman’s campaign, told Sky News: “Because of his reputation as chancellor, he now needs to double down on the high tax job he took.

“The big question is whether taxation at this level is doing more harm than good, and I’m afraid it is.

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“So while I admire Rishi a lot and he’s often said the right thing, now he’s doubling down on a very difficult position, which I think is very damaging.”

But Sunak supporter Sir Bob Neill said of the former chancellor: “He’s cutting taxes and so am I.

“But you have to cut taxes responsibly, because otherwise you’re going to have to go for very big cuts in government spending – probably more than we can sustain at the moment – or borrow more and more, and that’s really just pushing the tax burden next generation”.

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