The ‘terrifying’ inflation battering the nation: MPs are warned of cost increases spreading across the economy with cafe and pub prices up 18%, supermarkets to follow and petrol up nearly 23%
- Petrol prices have surged to a near-record high with an average litre of unleaded petrol now costing 139.46p – the most expensive since March 2013
- Similar rises may be spreading across the industry amid soaring costs for eating out, supermarket bills and manufactured goods
- Resulting cost-of-living squeeze set to undermine PM’s ‘levelling up’ agenda
Petrol prices have surged to a near-record high amid warnings of an ‘terrifying’ rise in inflation.
An average litre of unleaded petrol is now 139.46p – the most expensive since March 2013 and less than 3p below the all-time high of 142.17p set in April 2012.
Prices have risen by more than 26p per litre – nearly 23 per cent – in the past 12 months, adding £14 to the cost of filling up a typical 55-litre family car.
Similar rises may be spreading across the economy, with industry chiefs yesterday warning MPs about the soaring cost of eating out, supermarket bills and manufactured goods.
The resulting cost-of-living squeeze is set to undermine Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.
Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright warned ministers to ‘think seriously’ about the inflation caused by supply-chain disruption
Cafe, restaurant and pub prices are rising at 14-18 per cent a year with the same to follow in supermarkets, according to the Food and Drink Federation.
Manufacturers and heavy industries are suffering a rise of 30 to 40 per cent in material prices along with a double-whammy of rising energy and shipping costs, according to the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK. The cost of transporting one container from the Far East has leapt from £1,100 in December last year to £14,500 today and air freight costs have risen ten-fold.
Road haulage bosses are warning that driver shortages are not improving and say that a Government visa scheme to let in more foreign drivers has totally failed, with only 20 applications.
Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright warned ministers to ‘think seriously’ about the inflation caused by supply-chain disruption. He told MPs on the business committee: ‘In hospitality, which is a precursor of retail, inflation is running between 14 per cent and 18 per cent. That is terrifying.
‘I remember inflation going to 27 per cent under the Callaghan government and I remember the lady going around Sainsbury’s twice in the same hour to change the prices.
‘We really cannot go back to that. It took us 15 years to recover.
‘Inflation is a bigger scourge than almost anything because it discriminates against the poor.’
He added: ‘We are not going to run out of food but there are some shortages, we have seen some problems with pigs and poultry.’
Petrol prices have surged to a near-record high amid warnings of an ‘terrifying’ rise in inflation. Pictured: Drivers queue for fuel at a petrol station in London
Duncan Buchanan, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, told MPs: ‘There are widespread shortages of lorry drivers, leading to delays and frustrated trips… this hasn’t eased at all.’
And Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said: ‘We are seeing 30 to 40 per cent increases in material costs.’ Companies were having to pass on the cost, ‘which does imply to us that inflation is more or less baked in,’ he said.
He warned that huge increases in shipping and air freight costs were ‘not sustainable’, yet industry leaders expected their supply chains to be disrupted for another six to nine months.
The Government has said it is industry’s job to ensure effective supply chains and to offer pay and conditions generous enough to attract British workers.