More than four in five Britons are worried about rising living costs and their ability to afford basic necessities, such as food and energy, in the coming months, according to a new poll released on Tuesday.
In a survey of 2,000 Britons conducted by Ipsos and Sky News, 89% of respondents said they were concerned about how the cost of living crisis would affect the country in the next six months, while 83% said they were concerned. worried about their personal circumstances.
Although the picture was similar nationally, those with lower wages are more concerned, with more than half of those earning less than £ 20,000 ($ 25,000) describing themselves as “very worried” about how they will be paid. handle this year. This compares to two-fifths of those earning at least £ 55,000.
A major British catering provider said separately on Tuesday that schools are now facing “difficult decisions” about reducing the size of meals served or using lower quality ingredients amid rising prices.
The answers came after the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said on Monday that rising prices and food shortages due to the war in Ukraine were a real concern for Britain and many other parts of the world.
“There is a lot of uncertainty about this situation,” Bailey told the House Finance Committee.
“I’m sorry I was apocalyptic for a while, but that’s a major concern,” he said.
Bailey added that such external factors would have a greater impact on price increases than any recent or future increase in interest rates.
The head of the central bank, which coordinated four consecutive monetary policy rate hikes since December, rejected suggestions that policymakers should have acted earlier to stem inflation.
UK food inflation hit 5.9% in April, the highest level since December 2011, according to market research firm Kantar. This is as inflation in the UK reached a 7% high in the last 30 years last month amid rising energy costs.
British retailer Marks & Spencer warned on Tuesday that food price inflation could reach 10% by the end of this year.
“It would not be surprising to see 8-10% food price inflation this year,” Archie Norman, president of the premium food brand, told BBC Radio on Tuesday.
Norman added, however, that Bailey’s use of the word “apocalyptic” is exaggerated, given larger economic factors, such as wage increases.
Ukraine, seen as “Europe’s breadbasket,” was unable to export grain, fertilizer and vegetable oil during the conflict, while ongoing fighting destroyed crops.
MHP, Ukraine’s largest producer and exporter of chicken and a major supplier of cereals and sunflower oil, said Tuesday that the current situation was tantamount to an agricultural crisis.
“I have never seen anything like it. We have Covid, we have a war, we have China Covid-zero policy – which has made transportation almost impossible – and we have climate change. All of this has been exacerbated by a disruptive global supply chain system, “said John Rich, MHP’s chief executive and industry veteran.
The United States and the European Union said over the weekend that they were looking at ways to improve food supply chains and circumvent export restrictions. The announcement comes after India announced a ban on wheat exports on Saturday to “manage the country’s overall food security”.
Indonesia has previously implemented restrictions on palm oil exports – a key component of many foods – in an effort to reduce food shortages locally.
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