Rising food prices push inflation to 40-year high at 10.1%
The soaring cost of food has pushed the rate of inflation back up to 10.1 per cent – meaning prices are growing at their fastest rate for 40 years.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt acknowledged that “families across the country are struggling” as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose by 14.6 per cent in the 12 months to September – up from 13.1 per cent in August.
Hunt said the government would “prioritise help for the most vulnerable” but the figures are likely to heap further pressure on Liz Truss ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions later.
Hunt has so far refused to confirm whether benefits will be uprated in line with inflation.
Hunt said: “I understand that families across the country are struggling with rising prices and higher energy bills.
“This government will prioritise help for the most vulnerable while delivering wider economic stability and driving long-term growth that will help everyone.
“We have acted decisively to protect households and businesses from significant rises in their energy bills this winter, with the government’s energy price guarantee holding down peak inflation.”
Commenting on the figures, Derek Mitchell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said they were a “stark reminder” of the difficulties facing families this winter.
He said: “Families everywhere are really struggling with stagnant incomes as prices soar.
“The Citizens Advice network can offer help and support but what is really needed here is some kind of intervention by government to help people through this crisis. This level of inflation is not normal, and it needs a better than normal response.
“The most positive thing the UK government could do right now is commit to raising benefits to at least match inflation. That would give people on the lowest incomes a measure of security, and I hope the Chancellor will make this commitment in his statement at the end of the month.”