Experts in the UK have warned that food prices have gone up at their fastest rate in nearly 30 years – but there is worse to come.
Soaring food costs and the energy bill crisis drove inflation to 5.4 percent in the 12 months to December, up from 5.1 percent the month before, in another blow to struggling families.
According to the experts, the last time inflation was higher was in March 1992, when it was 7.1percent and with gas and electricity costs set to rise further in the spring, analysts predict it will reach that level again.
Households have seen their energy bills kept in check by the government’s price cap, which limits the amount suppliers can charge, but this is due to be revised on April 1.
As a result, fuel bills could increase by another 50 percent in the next few months, the energy industry has said.
Alarming rise in food banks
At the same time, there are signs that the high cost of food is proving too much for many people.
The Chief Executive Officer of Supermarket Chain Iceland, Richard Walker, said he was seeing an “alarming” rise in the use of food banks.
“There may be some people facing a choice between heating and eating. We’re losing customers to hunger. My stores served some of the UK’s most deprived communities,” he said.
He added that some of our customers only have £25 a week to spend on food, so they’re already struggling to make ends meet.
“When you have real wages falling, Universal Credit top-up withdrawal, food inflation, tax rises, that obviously will hit hard,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the latest rise was announced by the Office for National Statistics, which said increases in prices of furniture, food and clothing also contributed to December’s rise in the cost of living.