Social Justice

Big Issue teams up with Gordon Brown to call for emergency budget to fight October price cap rise

Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss must stop campaigning, come back from holiday, and prepare an emergency budget, urged Brown

Gordon Brown

Photo: Iain Masterton/Alamy Live News

The Big Issue has teamed up with Gordon Brown as the former prime minister calls on the government to take urgent action to prevent a “poverty time bomb” going off in October.

Brown has warned that any government budget in September will come too late for those facing ruin with October’s price cap increase, and said Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak must “show prime ministerial mettle”, stop campaigning and prepare an emergency budget.

The former prime minister and chancellor has gathered groups in a new Anti-Poverty Coalition. As well as The Big Issue, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Child Poverty Action Group, first minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, and 56 faith leaders have joined up

Writing in this week’s edition of The Big Issue magazine, Brown said: “With funds for charity starting to dry up, and food banks under pressure, only one group of people can make the difference. Johnson, Truss and Sunak must take time off from holidays and hustings and lead Britain, its regions and nations, away from an autumn and winter of misery.

He added: “We now welcome The Big Issue into our coalition and we value the support of this great organisation as we come together to expose the financial time-bomb that will explode on families eight weeks from now, on October 1.”

The annual energy price cap is expected to rise to £3,358 in October – more than doubling the £1,400 of October 2021. It will also change every three months, rather than the previous six months, leading to greater fluctuations for customers.

Homelessness, Brown predicted, would rise as energy and fuel bills soared and much of the Covid support measures ended.

Fuel bills look set to take up a third of the statutory pension, he added, while half of all children in the UK will also lose out.

Brown warned: “With millions standing on the edge of a financial precipice, we are calling for urgent measures to cover the cost of a further £1,000+ rise in fuel bills on top of April’s already painful increases.

“The grim facts right now, as we go to press, are that 27.7 million people in 14.5m households are staring at fuel poverty in October – an unprecedented 53 per cent of the United Kingdom’s population.”

The cumulative effect will be a “winter catastrophe”, with urgent action needed, Brown said.

If Johnson, Sunak and Truss did not act to prevent it, “the pressure should grow to recall Parliament this month to force them.”

Paul McNamee, editor of The Big Issue, said: “The crisis of domestic energy bills and crippling costs is hammering towards us all.

“At The Big Issue, we’re backing Gordon Brown’s call for an emergency budget to plot a path to help the population. The time for action, not trite culture war soundbites, is here”

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