George Osborne has urged the Government to “send a cheque in the post” to lower and middle-income families struggling with rising energy bills and inflation.
“Without getting into the intricacies of the benefit system, just send households on lower and middle incomes a cheque in the post,” he said, noting that the policy was “not unlike what they do in the US”.
"Of all the decisions that Rishi Sunak has taken that’s the one I disagree with and disagree with publicly. I thought by cutting corporation tax we were showing that Britain was open for business” @George_Osborne says that he'd send households a cheque in the post #AndrewNeilShow pic.twitter.com/CdyP9dX8i9
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) May 22, 2022
His comments come as Chancellor Rishi Sunak faces criticism for not pledging further support for families struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.
Pressed on how Mr Sunak could win back voters, he said: “The best thing that he can do is be less the politician – which is hard – and be more the national leader through the economic crisis.
“The Government needs to stop fussing about everything else and reset itself with a new economic plan.”
One measure prime minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to implement is a windfall tax on the soaring profits of oil and gas giants to fund a fresh support package or reduce consumer bills.
Mr Osborne, a former editor of the Standard, said he believes that Mr Sunak will eventually introduce a windfall tax amid reports of a rift in Cabinet over whether to impose the policy.
“I think he will do one but I have to say, it’s not really addressing the serious fiscal problem the country is going to have in the future. It’s a one-off scoop of money.
“But it’s an interesting dynamic where apparently No10 don’t want one and No11 do.”
Labour has argued a windfall tax could fund a VAT cut on energy bills and an increase in the warm home discount for those on a low income.
Former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said that Mr Sunak’s policies had left Britain facing a “tight fiscal squeeze.”
“This is not the right time to have a tight fiscal squeeze in the economy, it makes the Bank of England’s job much harder,” he said.
“I fear that his fiscal policy will drive us into a recession.”
Mr Osborne agreed that the Government’s focus should be on an “impending recession”.
“Inflation is going to be very painful but there is not a huge amoutn we can do about it in the UK. A huge amount of it is imported from abroad due to the oil shock,” he said.