Downing Street has rejected calls to summon a meeting of the UK government’s Cobra civil contingencies committee to address the cost-of-living crisis.

Writing for the Daily Record on Monday, former prime minister Gordon Brown issued a plea for “urgent measures” to cover further rises in fuel bills amid “millions standing on the edge of a financial precipice”.

He urged Boris Johnson to unite with Tory leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to prepare and agree on an emergency budget

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Johnson – who is back in Number 10 following his holiday in Slovenia – would be speaking to Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi to ensure that support measures due to come into effect later in the year remained on track.

However, the spokesman said that any further measures would be a matter for the next prime minister.

Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be voted into Number 10 next month.

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“Clearly these global pressures meaning challenging times for the public. The Government recognised that the end of the year will present wider challenges with things like changes to the (energy) price cap,” the spokesman said.

“That is why, at the start of the summer, we introduced a number of measures to help the public. Clearly, some of the global pressures have increased since that was announced.

“By convention, it is not for this Prime Minister to make major fiscal interventions during this period. It will be for a future prime minister.”

Brown had said earlier on Monday: “Cobra, the UK Government’s disaster emergency committee, should be in permanent session to deal with the coming fuel and energy crisis.

“Even if Boris Johnson has gone on holiday, his deputies should be negotiating to buy new oil and gas supplies from other countries and urgently creating the extra storage capacity we currently lack.

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“We should be persuading homes and buildings – as Germany is now doing – to cut back on energy usage wherever possible in the hope we can prevent formal rationing.”

The former prime minister also spoke out on Good Morning Britain on Monday, where he claimed there is a “vacuum” at the centre of Government which has stopped it from tackling the crisis.

He said: “There’s got to be someone in charge. And it’s not just that they’re asleep at the wheel – there’s nobody at the wheel at the moment."