IAN Blackford has demanded Boris Johnson returns from holiday and recalls Parliament as cost-of-living warnings mount.

The call by the SNP’s Westminster leader comes after the Bank of England last week announced the biggest interest-rate hike in 27 years and said the UK is heading for more than a year of recession under the weight of soaring inflation.

Part of the crisis is due to spiralling energy bills which are expected to rise to an average of £4000 per annum by the end of next year after regulator Ofgem said they will update the price cap every three months, instead of quarterly, contributing to a 13 per cent rise in inflation in October.

Mr Blackford demanded immediate action after UK ministers have said no new measures will be brought in until after a new Prime Minister is in post following the end of the Conservative leadership contest between the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak on September 5.

Business Secretary Kwasi Karteng admitted on Friday it will be more than a month before ministers can introduce any measures to tackle the rising cost of living.

Mr Kwarteng, who is backing Ms Truss to become the next Tory leader and Prime Minister, said he was expecting a new PM to introduce a “support package” in an emergency budget but it could not happen until after they start work.

But Mr Blackford said the timescale is “just isn’t good enough” and demanded Parliament be recalled immediately so that it can debate what further help is needed.

“Every day people are waking up to warnings that the Tory-made cost-of-living crisis is spiralling out of control - with each report more worrying than the last. Yet the UK Prime Minister is missing in action,” said Mr Blackford.

“Boris Johnson might be on his way out - and rightly so - but for now he is still the Prime Minister, with duties to protect the people who live here. He must come out of hiding and recall Parliament immediately so MPs can get around the table to figure out how best to support people through this cost-of-living crisis.”

Mr Blackford added that people “cannot wait another several weeks for the next Prime Minister to be installed for financial support” and “need help now.”.

He continued: “If Boris Johnson will not do the right thing by recalling Parliament and bringing in further targeted support for those being hit the hardest by this crisis, then he must immediately devolve the powers to Holyrood so we can help people in Scotland.

“Or better yet, he could respect democracy and grant a section 30 order so we can escape this incompetent, out-of-touch Tory government for good and do what is best for Scotland with the full powers of independence.”

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown also weighed into the row over the cost or living crisis and demanded the Conservative Government come up with an emergency budget before a “financial timebomb” in October “pushes millions over the edge”.

A new report commissioned by the former Labour leader, who navigated the UK through the financial crisis in 2008, suggested Government help had failed to address households’ needs. He demanded the Prime Minister, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss must agree to emergency measures “this week”.

Writing in The Observer, he said: “A financial timebomb will explode for families in October as a second round of fuel price rises in six months sends shockwaves through every household and pushes millions over the edge.

“A few months ago, Jonathan Bradshaw and Antonia Keung at York University estimated that April’s 54 per cent increase in fuel prices would trap 27 million people in 10m households in fuel poverty.

“Now, 35 million people in 13m households - an unprecedented 49.6 per cent of the population of the United Kingdom - are under threat of fuel poverty in October.”

Mr Brown said if an agreement was not drawn up by Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss then “parliament should be recalled to force them to do so”.

The former Labour chancellor suggested the country had reached a dangerous point, telling BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “I feel that we’re at a moment when a lot of the gains of the last 30 or 40 years have been lost, when people are being forced into dire poverty in a way that I did not expect would ever happen again in my lifetime”. He lamented the “vacuum” created by the Prime Minister and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi being on holiday and the Tory leadership candidates being on the campaign trail.

“At the centre of Government, not enough thinking is being done about the major social crisis, the biggest issue that we’re facing in the next few weeks.”

The new report, carried out by Professor Donald Hirsch at Loughborough University, found support for low-income households has fallen short of offsetting the losses they face amid the cost-of-living crisis, with some families up to £1,600 worse off a year. The additional £1,200 offered to the poorest in society this year will fail to compensate for major blows to their income from October 2021 to October 2022, the analysis suggests.

The loss of the £20-a-week benefits uplift, an annual uprating out of line with inflation forecasts, and a jump in the energy cap will mean the worst-off families cannot bridge the gap. This is because the flat-rate payments offered by the Government fail to take into account the different sizes and needs of different households, it says.

A couple with three children are losing almost as much again from rising prices as they did from last year’s cut in the Universal Credit uplift. And the loss for an out-of-work couple with two children is nearly £1,300, or £1,600 if higher inflation for worse-off households is taken into account, according to the report.

A Government spokesman said: “We understand people are struggling with rising prices, which is why we have acted to protect the eight million most vulnerable British families through at least £1,200 of direct payments this year, with additional support for pensioners and those claiming disability benefits.

“Through our £37 billion support package we are also saving the typical employee over £330 a year through a tax cut in July, allowing people on Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more of what they earn and cutting fuel duty by 5p, saving a typical family £100.”