Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak’s reputation has crashed like a crypto Ponzi scheme, according to former Labour leader Ed Milliband.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Milliband said: “The chancellor and cryptocurrency came out of nowhere, the value surged, looked like the future, but it’s all turned out to be one giant Ponzi scheme.”
Once the favorite to replace prime minister Boris Johnson, pro-crypto Sunak’s reputation has taken a tumble in the eyes of the public. The CEO of Her Majesty’s Treasury that introduced the furlough scheme now battles rising inflation and a cost of living crisis.
According to YouGov polling:
- Just after his appointment in April 2020, more than half of Brits thought he was doing a good job. Less than 10% thought he was performing poorly.
- The tables turned in February this year, with polling suggesting more people thought he was doing a bad job than good — the majority was neutral.
- Most recent figures from May 12 show that 47% think he’s doing a bad job in office, and just 19% think he’s handling it well.
Milliband, who is now shadow climate change secretary, took aim at Sunak during a days-long back and forth following the Queen’s Speech — the address in which the monarch sets out the government’s priorities for the parliamentary year ahead. For the first time since 1963, Prince Charles delivered the address after Queen Elizabeth pulled out due to mobility issues.
Forget crypto, Sunak should focus on the cost of living
Milliband lambasted Sunak over his failure to tackle the rising cost of living. He also repeated calls for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies and highlighted a tech failure that left the government apparently unable to boost benefit payments.
Sunak explained to Bloomberg UK last week that HM Treasury’s computer systems prevented him from increasing benefits payments more than once a year.
“Technical problems sounds like an excuse but the operation of our welfare system is actually technically complicated and it’s not necessarily possible to do that for everybody,” Sunak said (via Bloomberg UK).
This wasn’t good enough for Milliband who nicknamed the chancellor “the dude from Silicon Valley,” a reference to the 18 months Sunak held on to his US green card after joining the government.
Last month, Sunak set out plans to make the UK a crypto asset hub. He announced intentions for the regulation of stablecoins with a view to recognizing their use as a form of payment and an NFT (via the Royal Mint) to commemorate his dedication to digital assets.
However, across the House, opposition MPs are more focused on his traditional accounting duties as inflation tops out at 9% — a 40-year high.
In response, Labour triggered a vote on Wednesday calling for the chancellor to produce an emergency budget. The Conservatives blocked the amendment to the Queen’s Speech 312 to 229.