Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown demands emergency budget for ‘financial time bomb’


Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has demanded the government come up with an emergency budget before a “financial time bomb” in October “pushes millions over the edge”.

After suggesting in a new report commissioned by Mr Brown that the government’s aid is not meeting the needs of households, he said the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss must agree to emergency measures “this week”.

He wrote in The Observer: “In October, a financial time bomb for families will explode as a second round of fuel price hikes in six months sends shockwaves through every household, pushing millions over the edge.

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“A few months ago, Jonathan Bradshaw and Antonia Keung of the University of York estimated that the 54% increase in fuel prices in April would put 27 million people in 10 million households into fuel poverty.

“Now 35 million people in 13 million homes – an unprecedented 49.6% of the UK population – will be threatened by fuel poverty in October.”

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Mr Brown said that if no agreement is drawn up by Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Mrs Truss, “Parliament should be recalled to force them to do so”.

The new report, conducted by Professor Donald Hirsch of the University of Loughborough, finds that support for low-income households cannot offset the losses they suffer during the cost of living crisis, with some families living up to £1,600 worse. are off per year.

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The extra £1,200 being offered to the poorest in society this year will not offset the three major blows to their incomes from October 2021 to October 2022, the analysis suggests.

The loss of the £20 a week benefit increase, an annual increase not in line with inflation forecasts, and a jump in the energy ceiling will mean that the poorest families cannot bridge the gap.

Mr Brown said that if no agreement is made by Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss, ‘Parliament should be recalled to force them to do this’ (Andrew Parsons/PA)

(PA wire)

This is because the lump sum payments offered by the government do not take into account the different sizes and needs of different households, it says.

A couple with three children loses almost as much from rising prices as last year from the cut in the Universal Credit uplift.

And the loss for an unemployed couple with two children is nearly £1,300, according to the report, or £1,600 if higher inflation for poorer households is taken into account.

This is based on a £800 increase in the energy price cap, and will be higher the further it rises.

An April 2022 annual revaluation of 3.1%, instead of the 9% the consumer price index had risen last year, will increase pressure on the cost of living, the analysis suggests.

The Food Foundation, one of the organizations that endorses the report’s findings, calls the conclusions “alarming.”

Isabel Hughes, policy engagement manager at the charity, said: “There is now a very serious lack of support for families most in need. Urgent action is needed.

“That is why we have repeatedly called for greater access to free school meals for the millions of children living in poverty who currently lack this vital safety net.

“Ensuring these children have access to one nutritious hot meal a day is the fastest way to prevent an epidemic of malnutrition that would otherwise harm education, health and a generation’s future productivity prospects.”

We understand that people are struggling with rising prices, which is why we took action this year to protect Britain’s eight million most vulnerable families through at least £1,200 in direct payments, with additional support for retirees and people applying for disability benefits.

government spokesman

Meanwhile, the Child Poverty Action Group and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation told TAUT to double the cost of living for the winter from £15 billion to £30 billion.

A government spokesman said: “We understand people are struggling with rising prices, so this year we took action to protect the eight million most vulnerable British families through at least £1,200 in direct payments, with additional support for pensioners and those who claim disability benefits.

“Thanks to our £37bn support package, we are also saving the typical worker more than £330 a year through a tax cut in July, allowing people with Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more of what they earn and reduce fuel tax by 5p, saving a typical family £100.”


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