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FirstFT: Rishi Sunak promises to ease cost of living crisis


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Good morning. Former chancellor Rishi Sunak, one of the contenders to be Britain’s next prime minister, has pledged more help for households struggling with the cost of living crisis.

The pledge came as his allies stepped up attacks on Liz Truss, foreign secretary and his rival in the Conservative party leadership race. Dominic Raab, justice secretary, claimed that if Truss were to press ahead with an emergency tax-cutting Budget, it would be an “electoral suicide note” for the Tories.

Boris Johnson has rejected calls to draw up a rapid response to the cost of living crunch in his final weeks as prime minister, with Downing Street insisting that big fiscal decisions should be left to his successor.

Sunak declined to provide details of how much support he would provide to households, suggesting he would first need to know the revised level of the UK energy price cap due to take effect this autumn.

Who do you think should be responsible for introducing cost of living crisis measures, Johnson or his successor? Tell me what you think at firstft@ft.com. Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa — Jennifer

1. US pledges further $1bn in military aid for Ukraine The new package, the largest single drawdown since the start of Russia’s invasion, will include ammunition for high mobility artillery rocket systems (Himars) and will bring total US security aid to Ukraine since President Joe Biden took office to about $9.8bn.

2. Masayoshi Son ‘ashamed’ of focus on profits Huge losses at SoftBank’s flagship Vision Funds will force the Japanese investment group to begin “dramatic” cost-cutting after plunging technology valuations and a weak yen drove the conglomerate into a record $23bn quarterly net loss.

“If we had been a little more selective and invested properly, it would not have hurt as much” — Masayoshi Son

3. London tenants facing ‘increasingly unaffordable’ rents Private tenants in the UK capital are being forced to bid for properties or offer up to 12 months’ rent in advance, according to homeless charity Shelter has warned, as high demand and a shortage of properties drive intense competition for accommodation.

4. UK nurses vote on industrial action NHS nurses across England and Wales will next month vote on whether to strike over pay, in what the Royal College of Nursing described as a “defining” moment for the sector.

  • More disruption: One of the country’s busiest inter-city rail routes, Avanti West Coast, will sharply reduce services from Sunday, blaming “severe” staff shortages and “the current industrial relations climate”.

5. Donald Trump: FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago residence Federal agents searched Trump’s Florida residence last night, a significant step by prosecutors over the former president’s handling of classified information from his time in the White House that could deepen his legal troubles.

The day ahead

Kenya general election In one of Africa’s most significant elections of the year, Kenyan voters will select the president, deputy, members of parliament and devolved government members. Presidential candidates Raila Odinga and William Ruto are deadlocked in polls.

UK exam results School exam returns begin, with thousands of Scottish students who sat National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams finding out whether they have the grades to secure university and college places.

Economic data Hungary’s consumer price index for July is expected to rise as inflation remains above the central bank’s 3 per cent target. The British Retail Consortium-KPMG July retail sales report is out. US labour productivity is forecast to have declined for a second quarter. (WSJ)

Rudy Giuliani to testify The former New York City mayor turned personal attorney for Donald Trump has been ordered by a judge to testify in front of a Georgia grand jury over attempts by the former president’s supporters to overturn the 2020 presidential vote in the state.

Corporate earnings Half-year results are in for InterContinental Hotels, Continental, IWG, Legal and General, Munich Re and Standard Life Aberdeen, while Ralph Lauren reports first-quarter earnings.

What else we’re reading

How corporate raiders became teams of rivals The private equity industry was founded by mercenary dealmakers who bludgeoned opponents to win control of large corporations such as RJR Nabisco, Alliance Boots and Philips Semiconductor. Now, firms nurture complex relationships with their competitors. How did they get here?

Chart showing that private equity firms are increasingly selling assets to each other

Where have the UK’s self-employed gone? When the pandemic hit, the ranks of the self-employed fell sharply and they show no sign of bouncing back. Why does this abrupt change matter? Because a rise in self-employment has been for decades one of the labour market’s defining features, writes Sarah O’Connor.

It’s too early to declare the risk of US recession over Some believe the recent jobs report implies the US will avoid a recession. While he hopes this is correct, Mohamed El-Erian writes that it is too early to declare the watch over — something that the government bond market seems attuned to.

We must regulate the exploitation of resources in space The possibilities space offers are endless, almost. As a shared resource which must remain available to all nations, no private company should be allowed to dominate it for its own benefit. We need to deal with the proliferation of satellite debris, writes Mark Dankberg, chief executive of ViaSat.

Demography is not destiny Improvements in public health and medicine account for increased longevity of about two years per postwar decade. But fertility is falling, quickly. Public policy must be informed by a recognition of the effects of such a decline, writes Ian Goldin, a professor at Oxford university.

House & Home

The winner of this year’s Davidson Prize, a £10,000 annual award for design ideas attempting to address issues in housing, has proposed a radical project for a community of rentals in East Sussex involving quirky, colourful homes for diverse, non-nuclear households.

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