Act on cost-of-living crisis or “make way for Keir Starmer”, Brown tells Tories

Elliot Chappell

Gordon Brown has urged the Conservatives to take “the action that is necessary” to combat the cost-of-living crisis or to “make way for Keir Starmer”, who the former Prime Minister said is “ready and waiting to do good things”.

In a Sky News interview this morning, Brown argued that “the most important thing is that those who have got elected power” act to help households struggling with rising prices and bills but warned that the Tories were showing a lack of leadership.

“It is ridiculous, at the time of this crisis, that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have both been on holiday, the Foreign Secretary and Rishi Sunak the former Chancellor [are] on the campaign trail, and nobody seems in charge,” he said.

“The Conservatives are in power and it’s their turn to take the action that is necessary and if not make way for Keir Starmer who is ready and waiting to do good things.”

He told viewers that the Labour leader “is going to be a great Prime Minister for this country”, adding that “everybody knows he is a person of integrity” and that Starmer has “made the right decisions to rejuvenate” the party.

“I’m not going to be invited back but obviously I’m here to help,” Brown said when asked whether he would work in Starmer’s cabinet.

“It’s time for other people to take the helm. And, look, the team that Keir Starmer is bringing together is incredibly impressive and I think you can look forward to something in our politics that will make a radical change in the way we do things.”

Brown called for Conservative leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to agree an emergency Budget with Boris Johnson before households are hit with a “financial timebomb” this autumn as he warned that millions would be pushed “over the edge” if the government does not address the cost-of-living crisis.

Writing in The Observer on Sunday, the former Labour Prime Minister told readers: “The reality is grim and undeniable: a financial timebomb will explode for families in October as a second round of fuel price rises in six months sends shock waves through every household and pushes millions over the edge.”

A report, commissioned by Brown and carried out by Professor Donald Hirsch at Loughborough University, found that 35 million people in 13 million households across the country are under threat of experiencing fuel poverty in October – an “unprecedented 49.6% of the population”, Brown wrote.

The research found that the one-off £1,200 support from the government for low-income households will not compensate for three major blows to incomes in the year up to October 2022: the loss of the £20-a-week benefit uplift, the rise in the energy price cap and an annual uprating out of line with inflation forecasts.

The Bank of England recently warned that inflation, which is currently at 9.4%, could peak at more than 13% and stay at “very elevated levels” throughout much of the next year before eventually returning to its 2% target in 2024.

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