UK inflation hits highest in 40 years with food driving prices up
UK inflation rose to 9.1% in the 12 months to May, from 9% in April, the ONS reported.
Higher food prices, particularly for bread, cereal, and meat, were contributing factors to the latest rise in the cost of living.
Workers and unions have been pushing for a pay rise to help them cope with higher prices. The government has warned against employers handing out big increases in salaries over fears of an “inflationary spiral”.
At present, inflation is at the highest level since March 1982, when it also stood at 9.1% and the Bank of England has warned it will reach 11% this year.
Rail workers walked out on Tuesday causing severe disruption, with further strikes planned for Thursday and Saturday in a dispute over pay, jobs, and conditions.
The Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union is calling for a pay rise of 7%, while employers have currently only offered a maximum of 3%.
Unison accused ministers of “living on another planet” over “talks of public sector pay restraint”.
“Under-pressure health, care, school, and council services desperately need staff to be given a pay boost that matches runaway prices,” he said.
The biggest teachers’ union is also warning of potential industrial action over pay.
The National Education Union (NEU) has also criticised government proposals for a 3% pay increase for most teachers in England, calling for an “inflation-plus increase for all teachers”.
Dominic Raab told the BBC’s Today programme: “We have got to stop making the problem worse by fuelling pay demands that will only see inflation stay higher for longer and that only hurts the poorest the worst.”
The ONS said rising prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages helped fuel inflation in May.
Market reach firm Kantar has forecast that the average yearly grocery bill is set to rise by £380 this year, also, supermarket Asda told the BBC some shoppers are setting £30 limits at checkouts and petrol pumps.
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