Rishi Sunak was accused of “flip-flops and U-turns” by Liz Truss’ campaign leadership after he unveiled a new pledge to cut taxes.

The former chancellor said he would cut the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 16p in the pound by the end of the next parliament when he becomes prime minister.

He said the move – which would be the biggest income tax cut in 30 years – would be paid for by additional tax revenue generated by projected economic growth.

This followed his promise last week ax VAT on energy bills for next year to help people cope with the cost of living crisis.

Both announcements were made despite Sunak’s criticism Rafter farm for promising immediate tax cuts if she becomes prime minister.

Announcing his latest pledge, Sunak again insisted that his rival’s plans were unworkable and would further increase inflation.

He said: “What I’m giving people today is a vision for the biggest income tax cut since Margaret Thatcher’s government.

“It’s a radical vision, but it’s also realistic, and there are some core principles that I’m just not prepared to compromise on, regardless of the reward.

“First of all, I will never cut taxes in a way that only increases inflation. Second, I will never make promises I cannot pay for. And third, I will always be honest about the challenges we face.

“Because winning this leadership contest without agreeing with the people about what lies ahead would not only be dishonest – it would be an act of self-sabotage, dooming our party to defeat at the next general election and condemning us to a long period in opposition.

“There is no more serious choice than the one facing conservatives now: deciding who will lead our country at home and abroad through difficult times.

“As they approach this decision, I would urge them to be cautious about any vision that doesn’t involve any difficult trade-offs, and to remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

In response, a Truss source said: “It’s great that Rishi has made another U-turn on tax cuts, it’s just a shame he didn’t do it as chancellor when he’s been raising taxes repeatedly.

“Unfortunately, this is a case of ‘tomorrow’s jam.’ People need a tax cut in seven weeks, not seven years.

“He also made it contingent on getting growth first – knowing full well that his corporation tax hike was being squeezed. The public and members of the Conservative Party can see through these flip-flops and U-turns.”

Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury and Truss supporter, also attacked his former boss.

He said: “People are facing the biggest cost of living crisis in decades and the tax burden is at its highest level for 70 years.

“We cannot afford to wait to help families, they need support now. Liz will cut taxes in seven weeks, not seven years.

“She will reverse the rise in National Insurance tax and introduce a one-year pause in household electricity charges to reduce their electricity bills, helping people keep more of their hard-earned money to cope with the coming months.”

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