'Crises Don’t Take Holidays': Gordon Brown's Cost-Of-Living Plan Inspired By 2009 Crash

Ex-prime minister calls for temporary re-nationalisation of energy companies failing to cut soaring bills.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown.
Andrew Milligan via PA Wire/PA Images

Gordon Brown has proposed a temporary re-nationalisation of energy companies failing to cut bills for hard-pressed families as he took a dig at Boris Johnson by saying crises “don’t take holidays”.

With analysts predicting average annual household energy bills could top £4,200 in January, the former prime minister has made his second major intervention in recent weeks by suggesting the government follows the approach to the 2009 banking crisis, where some banks were taken into public ownership to protect consumers.

Writing in the Guardian, he said: “Time and tide wait for no one. Neither do crises. They don’t take holidays, and don’t politely hang fire – certainly not to suit the convenience of a departing PM and the whims of two potential successors.”

The barb was aimed at exiting prime minister Johnson, who has recently returned from a holiday in Slovenia, and his potential successors Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

Whovever wins the Tory leadership contest will not take office until September 6, and neither has mapped out how exactly they will get on top of the cost-of-living crisis.

Brown’s plan involves scrapping the energy price cap and renegotiating new lower prices with companies. Shell, BP and British Gas owner Centrica have all announced bumper financial results while households struggle with soaring bills.

Brown goes on that said that the government should consider bringing into public ownership companies who could not meet that requirement “as a last resort ... until the crisis is over”.

Brown wrote: “Families of 2022 are about to suffer more than in 2008-09 and only bold and decisive action starting this week will rescue people from hardship and reunite our fractured country.”

The Labour party has also faced criticism for not setting out a bold package of support.

On Wednesday, Sunak, who has acknowledged he is trailing foreign secretary Truss in the race for No 10, insisted that he would rather lose than promise “false things I can’t deliver”.

Earlier, Truss – who had previously opposed further “handouts” – denied that she had ruled out additional direct help for families struggling with soaring energy bills.

She said that if she became prime minister on September 5, she would instruct the chancellor to look at the issue “in the round” and to come up with a solution.


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