Jeremy Hunt has failed on many fronts since becoming Chancellor but he has surely achieved one thing consistently – being entirely out of touch with the plight of households and businesses affected by the Tories’ myriad economic policy failures.

Mr Hunt, of course, has previous when it comes to what is at best a staggering lack of awareness of everyday reality for ordinary people, assuming that it is not simply that he does not care. Some people might think that is a big assumption, given how he comes across and the policies of the administrations of which he has been part, and it is up to individuals to form their own views on this.

We should not forget when it comes to previous that Mr Hunt was part of the David Cameron and George Osborne administration that visited such savage austerity upon the UK and its people - including grim welfare cuts and public sector pay freezes - after winning power in 2010.

Sadly, this austerity, which it must be noted has proved to be entirely counter-productive from an economic perspective, has continued relentlessly, with all the misery that has brought and crucially continues to bring for so many households.

This savage austerity was the first thing that came to mind on observing a grinning Mr Cameron returning to the Tory front line with his appointment as Foreign Secretary this week.

Mr Hunt, who became Chancellor last autumn, declared on the “X” social media platform last Friday: “High inflation is the single greatest barrier to economic growth. The best way to sustainably grow our economy right now is to stick to our plan & knock inflation on the head.”

He gave his latest peculiar take on the UK’s predicament after official figures showed the country’s economy stagnated in the third quarter.

There are, as always it seems when Mr Hunt opens his mouth about the economy, some points that it is well worth clarifying.

What Mr Hunt says about a plan to knock inflation on the head is confusing.

It is the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee which is targeted with keeping annual consumer prices index inflation at 2%. And this remit has not changed since 2004.

The Bank has, of course, hiked UK base rates from a record low of 0.1% in December 2021 to 5.25%. However, in terms of Mr Hunt talking about the Tory plan to “knock inflation on the head”, we should remember that the Bank of England has independence in setting interest rates.

However, that is not where the holes in Mr Hunt’s reasoning or messaging, depending on how you look at it, end.

Many experts have highlighted the part of the Tory hard Brexit in fuelling inflation, through sending the price of food and imports in general upwards for example. The non-tariff barriers arising from the ending of frictionless trade with the European Economic Area have been among the factors playing a part here. Then there is the plunge in sterling which followed the 2016 Brexit vote. Sterling’s weakness has persisted. And a weak currency makes imports more expensive.

Then we have the upward pressure on salaries and wages arising from the skills and labour shortages fuelled by the ending of free movement of people between the UK and EEA in the wake of the hard Brexit.

So the Tories have undoubtedly had an impact on inflation - they have fuelled it.

Mr Hunt was once a Remainer. However, since he returned to the Cabinet, he has certainly not been critical of Brexit. He has at times tried to talk it up, albeit this has obviously been generally fruitless given any significant benefits remain conspicuous by their absence.

There is, of course, rightly much debate about the extent to which the MPC has raised UK base rates so far. And the committee has signalled it may, depending on how things go from here, not be done yet.

There seems to be a distinct lack of heed to the lagged effect of the surge in interest rates we have already seen. Enormous numbers of people are seeing fixed-rate mortgages coming to an end, with a consequent hike in their interest costs. And businesses - many of them still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the consumer-facing ones also under pressure from the intensifying strain on household finances - have also faced a surge in the cost of servicing their borrowings.

Mr Hunt, judging by his comments last Friday, seems not to care that much in any case about the dampening effect on growth of the very sharp rise in interest rates.

So what else did the Chancellor have to say on “X” last week?

He declared: “The Autumn Statement will be about how we get the economy growing healthily again for the long term - unlocking investment, getting people back into work and making our economy more productive.”

The Tories have had many years to get the UK economy growing for the long term. And they have failed spectacularly to do that. So chance would be a fine thing.

Even as they have choked off growth, and tried to give the impression of being good for the public finances, underlying public sector net debt has surged. Public sector net debt, on the measure which excludes the Bank of England and “public sector banks”, had already climbed from around £1 trillion when the Conservatives came to power in 2010 to more than £1.6 trillion ahead of the coronavirus pandemic. It had, by September this year, climbed to £2.37 trillion.

Mr Hunt could of course but will not - even with his austerity pal and Remainer Mr Cameron returning to the Cabinet as Foreign Secretary - move to stimulate the UK economy relatively quickly with a swift return to the European single market. Rejoining the European Union would take much longer but renewed single market membership would be more straightforward, although only if you exclude the fact that it would be anathema to the ruling Tory Brexiters.

The Chancellor last week surely added insult to injury for hard-pressed households with a curious perspective that many might also feel was delivered in a particularly patronising manner.

He told Sky News that he believed families “can be more optimistic”.

The Chancellor said: “I know how tough it has been but you can see the progress we are making in bringing down inflation, which has been the biggest single cause of pressure as people have seen the cost of their weekly shop go up, the cost of filling up the car go up.”

It is the Tories who have made life tough for ordinary people, with their awful policymaking. Referring to last Friday’s gross domestic product figures from the Office for National Statistics which showed the UK economy had not grown at all between the second and third quarters, Mr Hunt said: “The message of today is the economy is more resilient than many people thought, and that gives us all hope for the future.”

The consensus forecast among economists had been that the UK economy would have contracted by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to September.

Surely, however, Mr Hunt is not celebrating stagnation as opposed to a 0.1% fall?

The Chancellor has talked more than once about inflation being the “enemy”.

Some might surely with good cause, given all that has happened since Mr Cameron came to power in 2010 with the help of the Liberal Democrats, consider the Tories to be the “enemy” of economic prosperity and living standards in the UK.