Liz Truss has said her plan to cut taxes is “fair”, even though the wealthiest will benefit the most.
The foreign secretary, who is the overwhelming favourite to win the Tory leadership contest, has pledged to reverse April’s rise in national insurance.
In an interview with the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, Truss was shown a graph which detailed the impact of her plan.
The analysis was provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the respected independent economics think-tank.
Truss was asked: “Is it it fair to give the wealthiest people more money back?”
She said: “It is fair. We promised in our manifesto we would not raise national insurance.
“I oppose the decision to raise it in cabinet because it was the wrong decision.”
Truss added: “The people at the top of the income distribution pay more tax so inevitably when you cut taxes you tend to benefit people who are more likely to pay tax.
“What I am about is about growing the economy and growing the economy benefits everybody.”
During the interview Truss also said she would announce her plan to tackle high energy bills within one week of being elected prime minister — but refused to reveal what the plan was.
Voting ended in the contest between Truss and Rishi Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson on Friday.
The winner will be announced at lunchtime on Monday and will takeover as prime minister on Tuesday. Truss is the overwhelming favourite.
A YouGov survey of Tory members in August showed she held a comfortable 32-point lead.
Johnson and his successor will go to Balmoral, rather than Buckingham Palace, for the appointment of the new PM, in a break from tradition.
The Queen will receive Johnson at her Aberdeenshire home, where he will formally tender his resignation.
This will be followed by an audience with the new Tory leader, where she or he will be invited to form a government.