Tax policy is shaping up to be a deciding issue among the Tory leadership hopefuls.

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

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

Speaking in the Telegraph, Mr Hunt said he would:

• Cut the corporation tax rate in his first autumn budget
• Remove business rates for five years for communities most in need
• Keep the national insurance increase in place because “the NHS needs the money”

He said: “I would love to see income tax cut, but it has to be done in a way that is sustainable.

“It can’t be an electoral bribe and it depends on growth. What you’d need is an income tax cut that is for life, not for Christmas.

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“That means starting by saying we’re going to get the economy growing, then you get yourself in a position.”

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In the same newspaper, Mr Javid promised to:

• Axe the national insurance hike, which came into force during his time as health secretary to fund the NHS and social care.
• Cut corporation tax by 1 percentage point a year until it reaches 15%
• Bring forward a planned 1p income tax cut to next year
• Bring in 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 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.”

Earlier, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, who is also running for the top job, pledged to lower taxes for individuals, families and business.

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

Mr Sunak, who resigned as chancellor under Boris Johnson last week, is widely regarded as the favourite, but some say his policies while chancellor will limit his appeal in the leadership race.

Former minister Steve Baker, who is supporting Ms Braverman’s campaign, told Sky News: “Because of his record as chancellor he now has to double down on the high tax position he’s taken.

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

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“So, although I’ve got great admiration for Rishi and he’s often said all the right things, he’s now doubling down on a very difficult position that I think is quite harmful.”

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

“But you’ve got to cut tax responsibly because otherwise you’re going to have to take really massive reductions in public spending – probably more than we can bear at the moment – or borrow more and more, and that’s actually just shoving the tax burden onto the next generation.”