The Prime Minister was back in Blackpool today (Thursday 9th June) to call for pay restraint despite spiralling inflation. Johnson said, ‘We’re constrained in what we can do not just by the fiscal position, the risk of borrowing too much, but by the risk that we will fan the flames of further price increases. We can’t fix the increase in the cost of living just by increasing wages to match the surge in prices.’
He continued, ‘But when a country faces an inflationary problem you can’t just pay more and spend more, you have to find ways of tackling the underlying causes of inflation. If wages continue to chase the increase in prices, then we risk a wage-price spiral such as this country experienced in the 1970s.’
He also announced a review of the mortgage market which could open the door to people on benefits to borrow money to buy their own homes. He also reminisced about Margaret Thatcher giving council house residents the right to buy and said that he would extend the right to buy to tenants of housing association homes, saying there are 2.5 million households whose homes belong to associations.
He said, ‘They’re trapped, they can’t buy, they don’t have the security of ownership, they can’t treat their home as their own or make the improvements that they want. So, it’s time for change. Over the coming months we will work with the sector to bring forward a new right-to-buy scheme.’
His speech has so far received widespread criticism. For example, the Guardian’s John Crase said, ‘It was dismal stuff. Grotesque even. The desperation to try to talk about anything but Partygate only laid bare the poverty of the prime minister’s ambition and achievements. It’s indicative that the only concrete proposals he’s got up and running – on refugees to Rwanda and changes to the Northern Ireland protocol – involve breaking the law. The old ones are the best ones.’
The Independent headlined its derisive review with, ‘Never mind the logic: Boris Johnson’s bizarre Blackpool speech’.
Below, Johnson works on ‘levelling up’ brick work earlier today on his visit to Blackpool & The Fylde College in Bispham.