Social Justice

More than 70,000 people sign Gordon Brown petition calling for emergency budget

Gordon Brown has teamed up with The Big Issue to call on the government to prevent a “poverty time bomb”.

Gordon Brown

Former prime minister Gordon Brown. Photo: Andy Mettler/World Economic Forum, licensed under Creative Commons

A petition backing Gordon Brown’s calls for an emergency budget and uplift universal credit has reached 70,000 signatures and counting.

The former prime minister has teamed up with the Big Issue, poverty charities, Metro mayors, and faith groups to form an Anti-Poverty Coalition. The campaign is calling for immediate action from the current and next Tory leader as energy bills look set to hit almost £3,600 this October.

Writing in the Big Issue earlier this week, Brown predicted a rise in homelessness as the cost of living crisis deepens.

“Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunk and Liz Truss may not agree on much,” he wrote. “But this week the PM and the candidates that want to be PM must show prime ministerial mettle and return from holiday, park their hustings and come together to prepare an emergency and immediate fourth budget of the year to fill the gaps left by the first three.”

Brown has said only through an emergency budget could the government stop “millions of people going hungry and falling into poverty”.

“The government raised universal credit during the pandemic – providing a lifeline to millions – and with enough pressure, they could do it again,” the petition reads.

Brown has won praise for his campaign, with many noting the irony of a former PM calling for action while the current prime minister is on holiday.

“Time and tide wait for no one. Neither do crises. They don’t take holidays,” Brown wrote in The Guardian.

In his Big Issue article, he said over half of the UK’s population were “staring at fuel poverty in October”.

For families on the lowest income, more than half of their earnings  will be taken up by food and fuel costs.

“Martin Lewis and Gordon Brown are right. We need action now,” Labour MP Chris Bryant wrote on Twitter. “How on earth can a pensioner on the state pension possibly pay 50% of their income on gas and electric?”

Numerous other Labour MPs have also taken to Twitter to voice their support for Brown’s plan.

“As usual @GordonBrown offers clear-headed advice,” wrote Labour MP Olivia Blake on Twitter. “I believe government hasn’t grasped how serious the cost of living crisis is or how to tackle it.”

Martin Lewis has also joined the chorus demanding urgent action from Johnson, Sunak and Truss. He told Good Morning Britain the idea the government needed to wait until the new PM is in place to act was “complete bull”.

“The fact that there is internecine warfare between two candidates to lead that party does not stop the government doing anything,” he said. “Those two candidates could make an agreement of what is going to happen. The idea that they can’t do anything is wrong.”

As with any official petition, if 100,000 signatures are received, it must be looked into by a committee of MPs to consider whether it should be debated in Parliament.

You can sign the petition and demand an emergency budget here.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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