Gordon Brown urges Boris Johnson to force global action on cost of living crisis

Ex-PM says ‘any sensible government’ would be trying to build consensus to tackle economic crisis

Source > Guardian

By Rowena Mason Deputy political editor

19 Jun 2022 16.32 BST

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.

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.

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