Inflation rises to 3.2% as food costs soar

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Inflation reached 3.2 percent in August after the biggest month-on-month increase since records began in 1997.

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.2 percentage points from July to August. The CPI monitors changes in the value of a basket of goods regularly purchased by typical British households.

The current rate exceeds the Bank of England’s 2-percent inflation target and is the highest since 2012.


The ONS has advised caution when assessing the August price hike, however, which it described as “provisional”.

Statisticians said the cost of living rose less sharply in July, partly due to lower clothing and footwear prices.

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Additionally, last year’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme made food much cheaper than in August this year. The scheme offered diners a massive government-backed discount on meals worth up to £10.

Earlier this month, wholesale firms warned of a rise in food prices due to a shortage of staff, including HGV drivers, fruit and vegetable pickers and meat processors. For example, the price of tomatoes has risen significantly, rising from 75 paise last year to 1.47 pounds.

Darren Labett, managing director of Woods Foodservice, a wholesaler that supplies the pub and restaurant business, told BBC Radio 4 that wholesalers and other parts of the supply chain were unable to absorb rising costs.

“Vegetable oil is now at its highest price for more than 30 years,” said Mr Labett.

After the announcement of inflation figures, the government has already begun to face online backlash, with Labor MP John Trickett claiming that August’s hike would negate the Conservatives’ planned NHS pay hike.

The increase would result in the Bank of England’s governor, Andrew Bailey, being forced to write to the chancellor to explain why prices have risen so quickly and what the central bank will do to bring inflation back within target.


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