Gordon Brown has said Boris Johnson needs to force global action to deal with inflation and food shortages instead of lurching from “crisis to crisis”, as he predicted planned corporation and fuel tax rises would need to be scrapped.

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The former prime minister, who was chancellor for a decade under Tony Blair, said “any sensible government” would be trying to get world leaders round the table to deal with the impending economic crisis and creating a plan for growth.

Brown, who was in No 10 at the time of the 2008 financial crash, said world leaders “should concoct a plan” to bring down oil prices, get food supplies running around the world, and impose controls on inflation.

He also told BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme that Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, would have to scrap planned tax rises, while criticising his previous budgets for failing to deal with family poverty.

“I suspect that what the government will have to do in the autumn is abandon their corporate tax rise,” he said. “I suspect they’ll not be able to go ahead with their fuel tax rise because that’s another pressure on inflation.”

Brown would not say what level of pay rise should be given to workers in the public sector but argued it should be set out over three years, and floated the idea of a “cap on executive pay”.

Asked about Labour’s own plan for growth and accusations that Keir Starmer was not catching the public’s attention, Brown said the Labour leader should “ignore this”.

“Because what’s exciting about Keir Starmer’s leadership is that he will have a plan for growth. I don’t think politicians need to be making outrageous statements. They need to get people talking and explaining and getting answers,” he said.

Johnson and Sunak had been expected to give a big speech on the economy but this appears to have been delayed until next month, with the prime minister signalling that tax cuts promised to save his leadership may not happen until the autumn budget.

Johnson is expected at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Rwanda next week where the world economy will be on the agenda, as well as the climate crisis, security and other topics.

FORMER Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged Rishi Sunak to deliver a fourth budget this year, saying the Chancellor needs to have a plan to tackle the cost of living crisis. 

He also urged Boris Johnson to convene a summit of world leaders in a bid to stave off impending global economic catastrophe. 

The ex-Labour leader has compared the current situation to the 1930s, the so-called “devil’s decade”.  

“We’ve got protectionism, we’ve got war in Europe, we’ve got a form of jingoism and nationalism in different countries, pursuing their own selfish interests, and we’re in danger of having a global recession,”he told the BBC. 

“We have to face up to these problems.”

Mr Brown said he was “shocked by the fact that so many families and so many children are going to be forced into poverty during this winter, despite Chancellor Sunak’s proposals last month.”

Mr Brown added: “I see millions of families in poverty, and millions of children going to school ill-clad and hungry, people are unable to afford to put up their heating.

“Something has got to be done about this. And it has to be done in a far fairer way than the previous three budgets.

“Family budgets are under huge pressure, and the Government will need a plan. I am proposing a fourth budget. We’ve had three budgets this year.”

He said the budget should “get inflation on a pathway towards stable prices” and do something to “ease family poverty because child poverty is going to go beyond five million if we don’t take further action.”

He added: “And thirdly, I think what people are really looking for is a plan for growth to get over this.”

Mr Brown said without that plan there was “no programme of action.”

He added: “The government is going from crisis to crisis and scandal to scandal. We cannot see the way out of this. We will have pain now and pain later. What we need is minimising pain now and maximising gain later.

“At the moment, no government minister can explain any strategy for the next year, two years or three years. There is no plan, no programme of action, and there’s got to be one.”

Mr Brown said it was “a global problem that needs a global solution.”

“We’re actually leaderless at the moment, but we’re not powerless,” he said.

“There’s a food crisis, 800 million on the verge of starvation. There’s an energy crisis with oil prices going up, affecting every country, inflation and of course on top of Covid and conflict and climate change, which is affecting every country.

“So Boris Johnson may be going to [the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in] Rwanda and then to Germany but he really ought to be getting world leaders together, and they should concoct a plan that deals in a concerted and comprehensive way that can get oil prices down can get food supply, moving around the world, and can get control of inflation.”

During the interview, the former Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP said he thought it was likely the Conservatives would need to scrap planned corporation and fuel tax rises.

F

ormer Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for the UK Government to implement a fourth budget to help struggling families after he revealed his “shock” at the growing number of those in poverty.

He warned the economic issues Britain is facing are affecting every country around the globe.

“This is first of all a global problem that needs a global solution. We’re actually leaderless at the moment, but we’re not powerless,” speaking to BBC’s Sunday morning political programme.

“There’s a food crisis, 800 million on the verge of starvation. There’s an energy crisis with oil prices going up, affecting every country, inflation and of course on top of Covid and conflict and climate change, which is affecting every country.

“So Boris Johnson may be going to Rwanda and then to Germany but he really ought to be getting world leaders together, and they should concoct a plan that deals in a concerted and comprehensive way that can get oil prices down can get food supply, moving around the world, and can get control of inflation.”

Mr Brown was prime minister during Britain’s last financial crisis between 2007-2010. He also served as chancellor from 1997-2007.

He revealed he was “shocked” by the numbers of families who may be forced into poverty.

He added: “I am shocked by the fact that so many families and so many children are going to be forced into poverty during this winter, despite Chancellor Sunak’s proposals last month.

“I see millions of families in poverty, and millions of children going to school ill clad and hungry, people are unable to afford to put up their heating.

“Something has got to be done about this. And it has to be done in a far fairer way than the previous three budgets.

“Family budgets are under huge pressure, and the Government will need a plan. I am proposing a fourth budget. We’ve had three budgets this year. We need to do three things. First of all, we need to get inflation on a pathway towards stable prices.

“Secondly, the Government’s got to help ease family poverty, because child poverty is going to go beyond five million if we don’t take further action. And thirdly, I think what people are really looking for is a plan for growth to get over this.”

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged Boris Johnson to get people together to respond to economic crisis (PA)
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged Boris Johnson to get people together to respond to economic crisis (PA) / PA Wire

He speculated that inflation in the UK could reach 11% but warned when high inflation and the possibility of recession “come together” jobs and living standards could be at risk.

Mr Brown accused the Government of not doing enough regarding the impending economic crisis.

“Britain is one of the few countries without a policy for industry. We don’t have a trade deal either with America or with Europe, so in or out of Brexit we’ve really got to get our trading relations sorted out,” he said.

“Without that plan and there is no plan. There is no programme of action.

“The Government is going from crisis to crisis and scandal to scandal. We cannot see the way out of this. We will have pain now and pain later. What we need is minimising pain now and maximising gain later.

“At the moment, no government minister can explain any strategy for the next year, two years or three years. There is no plan, no programme of action, and there’s got to be one.”

He also told Labour leader Keir Starmer to “ignore” those who accused him of being “boring” earlier this week.

“What’s exciting about the possibility of Keir Starmer’s leadership is he will have a plan for Britain. He will show how we can get back growth. He will show how we can get living standards rising again, and he will show how we can have a fairer society that deals with problems like climate change.

“Kier Starmer was the Director of Public Prosecutions. He’s been a great public servant over many years, and I think he’ll make a great Prime Minister.”

Nguyễn Xuân Khôi

Nguyễn Xuân Khôi

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