BASINGSTOKE MP Maria Miller and MP North Somerset Liam Fox have insisted that ministers must “tame inflation” and ensure cost-of-living problems are “first and foremost” in their policy priorities.

The former Cabinet ministers led calls for the Government to focus on such issues in the short term to enable it to realise its longer-term ambitions.

Dr Fox, said the Government’s first duty is to protect citizens from threats, before adding: “There are other threats that I believe we have a right to be protected from: the debasement of our currency, the erosion of our earnings, and the devaluation of our savings.

“I believe it is fundamentally wrong for governments to engage in structural profligacy, spending excess across the economic cycle and passing ever-larger amounts of debt on to the next generation, and I believe that it is the duty of central banks to safeguard the value of our money and our savings.”

Dr Fox called for the Treasury Committee to launch an “investigation into why the Bank of England so comprehensively under-estimated the inflationary threat”.

On the levelling-up agenda, he added: “Unless we are able to tame inflation, none of our ambitions will be realised.”

Mrs Miller also told day three of the Queen’s Speech debate: “I’d suggest the Government needs to heed the words of (Dr Fox) very heavily indeed because he’s right that one of the levers they can pull in their response to the challenges we face is around inflation, and it’s very much in the Government’s gift to be able to make those changes to bring inflation more under control.

“I think, by looking at different countries around Europe and seeing the different levels of inflation, you can see how the fiscal responses that governments have given have driven those changes inherently.

“But the cost-of-living problems that we’re struggling with at the moment need to come first and foremost into the eyes of every minister, regardless of their department.”

Mrs Miller stressed the importance of the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill, which is expected to enable communities in England to stage referendums over the style and size of extensions, new homes and conversions on their street.

She said she wants more places in the country to be like her constituency, adding that she hopes the Bill will enable this by shifting growth away from the South East.

“Basingstoke has built four times more houses over the last 40 years than other communities across our country; this cannot continue,” she said.

Dr Fox earlier warned that big housing developers need to be prevented from “banking” land and waiting for house prices to rise before building.

He said: “We need reform of land banking. The system that we have at the present time, where big developers buy land, get permission for 200 houses, build 40 and wait for the price to rise before they build the rest, results in planning blight.

“It results in big land banks for the developers, it means that people who live in our communities don’t know what is going to happen.

“There are a number of solutions; my preferred one would be that, if developers have not built out the permissions they have, they should not be allowed to apply for further planning permissions in the same local authority.”