Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have arrived in Darlington for tonight's hustings event amid shock warning that energy bills could top £4,200 in the new year.

The two remaining contenders in the Tory leadership race faced renewed calls to spell out how they would help after Cornwall Insight forecast average bills could hit about £3,582 in October, from £1,971 today, before rising further in January.

Live: Darlington hosts Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss hustings

The Northern Echo: Picture: CHRIS BOOTHPicture: CHRIS BOOTH

The former chancellor has said he has “no doubt” extra support will be needed to get people through the winter, and he is “confident” he can find the money needed to ease the strain from Government efficiency savings.

Quizzed on how much extra he would be prepared to hand out, Mr Sunak told ITV News that bills look set to increase by “a few hundred pounds more”, and “that’s the kind of scale that I did before”.

The Northern Echo: Picture: CHRIS BOOTHPicture: CHRIS BOOTH (Image: CHRIS BOOTH)

Pressed on whether “we’re talking a few hundred pounds more here”, he said: “Yes.”

Liz Truss, meanwhile, refused to commit to extra support for families struggling with the cost of living, again insisting her priority was driving through tax cuts to kick-start the economy.

Read more: Protesters gather outside Darlington Hippodrome ahead of hustings

Speaking during a campaign visit to Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, the Foreign Secretary said that if she became prime minister she would “see what the situation is like” in the autumn.

The Northern Echo:

However, in a fresh swipe at Mr Sunak’s record at the Treasury, she said that with the tax burden at a 70-year high, the priority had to be economic growth, with a package of emergency tax cuts.

“What I am talking about is enabling people to keep more money in their own pockets,” she said.

“What I don’t believe in is taxing people to the highest level in 70 years and then giving them their own money back. We are Conservatives. We believe in low taxes.

“Of course, we will need to deal with the circumstances as they arise. We will see what the situation is like in the autumn, but I am committed to making sure people are supported and I am committed to growing the economy.”

The pair will address Tory members in Darlington tonight as they continue to battle to be Britain's new PM.

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