The levelling up secretary has contradicted the government’s previous suggestions an emergency budget could be on the horizon.
Yesterday afternoon the prim minister suggested that he would be “saying more” about the government’s cost of living response “in the days to come.
These comments came after policing minister Kit Malthouse refused to rule out an emergency budget.
Quizzed by Sky News yesterday, after British Chambers of Commerce head Shevaun Haviland urged the chancellor to tackle soaring costs, Malthouse explained that he “ did not know” if an emergency budget would happen. “You would have to get the Chancellor on and talk to him about that but I think he said in the media yesterday that he is constantly reviewing what he can do to assist,” he went on.
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However he added that: “Well, we don’t rule anything in or anything out. I am afraid you are asking me questions above my pay grade.”
However the Treasury has since denied the plans, with a spokesperson stressing yesterday evening that: “The budget timetables will be set out in the usual way. There will be no emergency budget.”
The levelling up secretary appeared to suggest the Treasury had won the tussle, telling Sky News that “both” the Treasury and No 10 are… right and no, there won’t be an emergency Budget.”
“The key thing is it is sometimes the case… that words from a prime minister or a minister are overinterpreted,” he went on.
Gove said yesterday’s speculation “is an exampled of some commentators chasing their own tales,” and turning a “commonsensical statement “into a major…news story”.
He added, in what seemed to be an impersonation of a Liverpool accent, that the Treasury had been “quite right” to tell people to “calm down.”
Gove suggested that the government was already planning to ramp up support on the issue without a new budget, explaining: “So the prime minister is right, we will be saying more and doing more in order to help people with the cost of living challenge that we face at the moment. But that doesn’t amount to an emergency Budget, it is part of the work of government.
“So last night the prime minister convened a group of ministers, we had all done work on some of the things that we could do to help. Those policy initiatives will be announced by individual departments in due course as they are worked up.”
The levelling up secretary also attempted to pour cold water on claims of a rift between Johnson and Sunak telling BBC Breakfast that “instead of recognising that they have overinflated the story in the first place,” commentators “then say ‘Oh, this is clearly a split’”.
“The truth is the prime minister says ‘government is working hard’ and the Treasury say ‘Yes we are and I’m afraid the Budget is going to be when we said it would be’. That becomes a story? No.”
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine has hit out at Gove’s comments, arguing that ruling out an emergency Budget “is a complete shambles.
“Millions of families and pensioners are struggling to get by. They need more help now before things get even worse in the autumn. Instead all we get from this Conservative government is chaos and confusion.
“An emergency Budget is needed now to cut taxes for ordinary families while taxing the super profits of oil and gas companies. That would be the fair and right thing to do.”
Last week the Bank of England warned that inflation was likely to hit 10 per cent by December.
The UK economy is set to shrink yet further this year as energy prices soar and the cost of living climbs.
Wages are also set to slump by 0.25 per cent in 2023.