Gordon Brown has urged the government to bring in a fourth budget after he revealed his “shock” at the number of families being pushed into poverty.
The former prime minister also said Boris Johnson needed to convene a meeting of world leaders to tackle the cause of the cost of living crisis, such as soaring oil prices, restricted food supplies and rocketing inflation.
Brown was at the helm during the UK’s last major financial crisis between 2007 and 2010. Prior to that he served as chancellor under Tony Blair.
When the financial crash hit its peak in 2008, Brown was widely praised for being among the names to call a summit of world leaders. It resulted in greater co-operation between world economies and plans to future proof the economy from further potential shocks.
Speaking to BBC’s Sunday Morning, Brown said Johnson had to “get people together” to solve the current unfolding crisis.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Brown said one solution would be to bring forward a fourth budget.
“We need to do three things,” he said. “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.”
He warned the economic issues faced by Britain were also being faced across the world.
“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,” 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 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.”
The former prime minister also accused the government of lurching from “crisis to crisis” and of having “no plan, no programme of action”.
It comes after the Bank of England predicted that inflation could reach 11% in October.
“Britain is one of the few countries without a policy for industry,” Brown said.
“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.
“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.”