UK cost of living ‘real cause of concern’, says business secretary

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Trade Secretary Quasi Quarteng called inflation in the UK “real cause for some concern”, but said he was confident it could be contained in the coming months.

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The latest data from the Consumer Price Index shows growth in the cost of living fell to 3.1 percent in September – slightly less than 3.2 percent in August.

However, the inflation figure is well above the Bank of England’s target rate of 2 percent, as fuel, food and transport costs remain a struggle for many people across the country.


“I think this is a real cause for some concern, because clearly, we want the inflation rate to be low,” Quarteng told the BBC on Wednesday.

The business secretary said: “At the moment there is debate about how long this inflation will last – I believe it will be contained. We will have to wait and see.”

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Quarteng pointed to growth from the reopening of the economy after the Covid pandemic as the reason for the price hike.

“One of the reasons for inflation is the fact that the economy is rebounding … it’s a rapid rebound.” he said. “When you see very strong economic growth there is always the risk that you will have inflation.”

Average petrol price in September 2021 was 134.9 pence per liter as against 113.3 pence a liter a year ago, as the fuel is proving to be an upward pressure on inflation.

Food and beverage firms told lawmakers on Tuesday they were facing a “terrible” increase in costs amid labor shortages and an ongoing supply chain crisis.

Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright told a parliamentary committee that the government should “think seriously about inflation”.

He said: “In hospitality, inflation is running between 14 per cent and 18 per cent, which is terrifying. If the prime minister, as I know, is serious about raising his level, inflation will exceed almost anything.” It is a great curse because it discriminates against the poor.”

Mike Hardy, head of prices at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: “Annual inflation moderated slightly in September due to the undesired effect of last year’s Eat Out to Help Out, which was a factor in pushing the rate forward in August. In.

“However, this was partially offset by most other categories, including an increase in prices for furniture and home goods, and a gradual decline in food prices over the past year.

The statistician said: “The cost of goods produced by factories rose again, with metals and machinery showing significant price increases. The cost of road freight for UK businesses also continued to rise over the summer.

It comes as the business secretary acknowledged that transitioning to net-zero carbon emissions could be “too expensive” for consumers.

It follows a Treasury report on net zero costs – which warned that the transition from fossil fuels would require new sources of taxation to replace the £37bn lost from petrol taxes and curbs on household disposable income. may seem.

Quarteng told Sky News: “It’s a fine line that you have to walk between making the transition and essentially forcing people and putting the cost to people to transition, and what we want to do is put people on the transition.” Have to keep with us. Journey.”

But the minister also emphasized that some of the cost to consumers converting to net zero would be reduced by private investment.

He added that the government is “trying to attract a really large amount of private investment into the UK, and what happens with private investment is that the unit cost of energy really goes down, it goes down, it goes down.” is cheap”.


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