There’s no sign of the cost-of-living crisis abating any time soon, with one business expert warning: ‘Supermarkets pursuing endless price increases are heading down a path of mutually-assured destruction’
Food price inflation was up to 19.2per cent in March, from 18.2per cent in February, according to the latest figures released today by the Office for National Statistics.
That means that any food that you bought for £1 in March 2022 will have cost you £1.20 this year.
More generally, the ONS reported a slight slowing of general inflation rates in March – though for households in Croydon, these figures precede the likely seismic shock of the 15per cent Council Tax hike which the Conservative Mayor, Jason Perry, helped by the Tory Government, is hitting the borough’s residents with in April.
One of the country’s trades union leaders has pinned the blame for continuing soaring prices on “the scourge of corporate profiteering”, while a business figure working in the retail sector has warned that “Supermarkets pursuing endless price increases are heading down a path of mutually-assured destruction”.
Research carried out for trades union Unite, analysing the FTSE 350, shows that profit margins for the first half of 2022 were
compared to the same period in 2019.
The ONS reported today that Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) rose by 8.9per cent in the 12 months to March, down from 9.2per cent in February, but still around double the rate of many of the public sector pay offers being made by local and national government.
CPI rose by 10.1per cent, down from 10.4per cent, according to the ONS.
“The public are beginning to cotton on that it’s not wage rises driving prices – its rampant corporate profiteering,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
Accusing politicians of “snoozing at the wheel”, Graham said, “There’ll be no end in sight to the cost-of-living crisis until we tackle that scourge.”
Andrew Fisher, the former Labour Party policy chief and now a columnist for Inside Croydon, focused on the food price inflation when he tweeted, “This will have a disproportionate impact on lower-income households who spend a larger percentage of their income on food.”
Other pundits responding to the ONS figures cautioned on the detail. “These figures can be confusing. We must remember that while the ‘rate’ is falling, inflation is still devastatingly high,” said Mohsin Rashid, the CEO of Zipzero, an online shopping app. “Its impact is being felt every day across the country, forcing consumers to make hard choices and ongoing sacrifices.
“This is particularly evident with regard to food, which is increasing at a rate well beyond the average. Our research shows that consumers are being savvy… Yet, savvy can only stretch so far.
“Britons’ mental and physical well-being is under threat, with many now having to prioritise feeding others over themselves. Food shoppers must be given some financial relief. Supermarkets pursuing endless price increases are heading down a path of mutually-assured destruction.”
And Lily Megson, the policy director at My Pension Expert, said: “Britons will welcome the return of slowing inflation. But we are far from the finish line; the threat to people’s finances prevails as inflation remains at eye-watering, double-digit levels.
“For many, the concept of a financially secure retirement, after years of hard work and diligent saving, hangs in the balance.”
Megson cited her company’s research, which has found that almost half of over-55s “feel the cost-of-living crisis has rendered retirement entirely impossible”.
She said, “People need support, and they need it now.”
Read some of Andrew Fisher’s recent columns:
- A Budget that subsidises profiteers and bungs £1bn to wealthy
- The solution to Perry’s finance problem: Fund Croydon Fairly
- Fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is not too much to ask
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Sharon has a point but that is not the whole picture of costs, and it is not some of the companies we would recognise that are obtaining huge profits.
Supermarkets are getting a hard time and they are making better profit margins but the producers are the ones making the killing quicker than the combatants in Ukraine.
And very few of their excuses add up.
Britain’s leading brand has put a 415g tin up by 20p in the last year to an average £1.41 – but at least one chain is charging £1.70. Reported costs had been severely affected by inflation at 14%. – no shit!
Hang on I have a receipt for a 6 pack costing me £3.60 in 2022 (ok it was late March 2022) singles were .80p then. It is April 2023 so 14% makes that .92p – £1.70 is more like a 100%+ increase. And here it is in the EU = heinz baked beans Heinz Baked Beans 24 x 415g (long date) £18.84 So 78.5p a can in sterling.
There are costs inflated by demands and lack of supply. But raw materials imported are suffering from the Brexit premium and the Truss Kwarteng fiasco. (Clever guy Kwasi but forgot a fundamental history lesson – remember George soros? The Bank of England did)
Wondering why the cost of the takeway chips has jumped? Cost of Cooking oil and the cooking by gas or electric are the main factors. Interestingly somewhat artificially inflated in this country as the biggest driver is the renewable energy linked to the gas price and the shortage of fuels not just petrol.
£1.70 for a can of beans? Nope thats Heinz earning a wadge and either rampant profiteering or extremely poor supply management. Seriously they are three times more expensive than a supermarket bean. Same with all their products. Time to stop stocking their products supermarkets.
Personally I doubt I will ever buy Heinz again even if they as they said in the Mirror “offset some of the pressures consumers are facing, and work collaboratively with retailers to offer great value through regular promotions and promotional cycles across a range of our products.”
Maybe we should source our Navy beans from Brazil, Myanmar or India as it will be a lot cheaper for all