Metro Mayor Dan Norris has warned there will be “no end in sight” for the cost-of-living crisis unless food prices in the West of England are brought down.
He made the comments after the Office for National Statistics said food inflation is at 19.1% – the second highest for 45 years, and down only slightly on March’s eye-watering 19.2%.
This means that food prices are still over 19% higher than they were last year.
Surging food prices have hit West of England household budgets, and have prompted an inquiry from the UK’s competition authority.
Meanwhile, overall inflation has eased back to its lowest level since March last year, but remained higher than expected – falling to 8.7% April, down from 10.1% in March, but higher than the 8.2% pencilled in by economists.Falling inflation does not mean prices are coming down, only that they are rising less quickly.
Mayor Norris said the cost of food is “increasingly unaffordable for many in the West” and that the cost-of-living crisis is far from ending, with the sobering stats coming a day after Kantar revealed people were spending £833 more on their food shop compared to the same period last year.
He has called on supermarkets to do more to bring down prices for residents, as well as for ministers to consider a package of measures like cutting business rates for small retailers, and subsidising energy bills for food manufacturers, to bring down the cost of everyday items on shop shelves for locals.
This package could be paid for through taxes on oil and gas and online retail giants, he said.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris: “Food prices and the costs of everyday items are out of control in the West of England. Residents will be asking why this government still refuses to do what is necessary to bring down bills – with working people literally paying the price. The truth is there is no end in sight to this cost-of-living unless ministers grip this problem of rising food prices. Enough is enough. Measures like cutting business rates could be vital in getting to the root cause of those sky-high prices in the shops. It’s time for the Government to listen, so we can ease the pressure on West of England families.”