Scottish Tory Hustings: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss go head to head in Perth

Credit: PA

It would be tempting to dismiss the election contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss as just another party political battle - all about power and prestige. It is that, of course, but it's about a lot more.

When ITV Border asked people in our region what they wanted to see from the man or woman who will be the next Prime Minister they were clear. It's all about the cost of food and the cost of living. They need more help. They expect more help.

So is there more help on the way from either of the candidates who, based on the decision of Tory members only, will walk through the door of 10 Downing Street in three weeks time

Yes, there is, but from the hustings event tonight in Perth, the only such event in Scotland, there are significant differences between the two on what that help will be.

Sunak said he would cut VAT, and help the most vulnerable on top of the £1200 extra he allocated as Chancellor, before he resigned from Boris Johnson's government.

He said he would not pursue policies that would make the cost of living crisis "far worse", policies he said would put £50 billion "on the tab". He meant his opponent's policies.

Truss said she would reverse the increase in National Insurance rise, and put a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy, and keep corporation tax low.

The Foreign Secretary - she is still in government - said she did not believe in putting a "sticking plaster on this problem" and she is broadly in favour of low personal taxes. 

Beyond that she would not go and she avoided direct criticism of Sunak's plans. She's the favourite to win, so perhaps she feels she does not need to.

With the Labour party promising to freeze the energy price cap, at a cost of some £29 billion over just six months, the two are under pressure both from inside their party, from the opposition and from voters.

And with that price cap about to be raised, and raised again, both know they will have to act and act fast if they are to make any impact before the winter cold and people are faced with heating bills they simply cannot afford.

Politicians in power have to make decisions all the time, but rarely has there been a time when someone completely new to the highest office in the UK will have to act so speedily and decisively to head off a crisis.

We will know who that person is on 5 September, when the winner is announced.

Very soon after that voters in the south of Scotland and north-west of England, along with voters across the UK, will be able to judge either Prime Minister Truss or Prime Minister Sunak not by their hustings promises but by their actions.