July 3, 2022

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PM could appoint ex-Chancellors as advisers to tackle cost of living crisis

2 min read

BORIS Johnson wants to set up a task force to tackle the scourge of rising prices.

The PM is taking advice from experts old enough to recall the last time Britain was in the grip of raging inflation.

Boris Johnson wants to set up a task force to tackle the scourge of rising pricesCredit: Getty

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Senior Tories have urged the PM to appoint ex-Chancellors Norman Lamont, Ken Clarke and Nigel Lawson as advisers

Senior Tories have urged him to appoint ex-Chancellors Norman Lamont, Ken Clarke and Nigel Lawson as advisers.

The “three wise men” have a combined age of 250 and first-hand experience of inflation-busting measures that work.

No 10 risks being seen to undermine Rishi Sunak by seeking external advice.

But aides have pointed out that the Chancellor was still at school when Britain last faced an inflation crisis more than 30 years ago.

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And as the average age of Treasury officials is 27, there are few in his office who were alive at the time.

A source said: “It’s the worst inflation in a generation and we need to draft in those with the brains and, above all, the experience to tackle it.

“The situation is so serious we could almost be back in the 1970s with an energy crisis, high inflation, rising interest rates and prospects of a Cold War with Russia.

“We must welcome all ideas to tackle this aggressively.”

Some fear setting up an inflation-busters team will worsen the strained relationship between the PM and his Chancellor.

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But others say Mr Sunak has lost some of his sparkle since his widely panned Spring Statement.

One minister dubbed it his “bacon butty moment” — likening it to former Labour leader Ed Miliband’s career-defining moment tussling with a sandwich.

A senior source added: “Rishi has dealt his own ambitions a very serious body blow with his underwhelming spring statement.

“He now looks more like what he is — a junior politician in charge of the single biggest and most important department in government.”

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One minister added: “No 10 and No11 don’t agree on what to do about inflation.

“It’s in everyone’s interests to find a solution and we must draft in the best brains with real experience in defeating inflation to help.”

Smiley machine

SMILEY face feedback machines have been installed at Downing Street to monitor staff morale

Three terminals have been positioned in the canteen and near doors.

They are normally seen in shops, airports and toilets, where visitors record their mood by pushing happy or sad faces.

But the move has enraged employees who face a stressful wait for a police probe into No10 parties plus a wider shake-up of staff.

One said yesterday: “It’s absurd. It’s just so patronising and treats us like idiots rather than professionals trying to do a job in difficult circumstances.”

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