Sunday, December 17The Voice of London

Inflation remains at a 3% high as vegetables grow more pricey

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UK’s inflation rate remains at a 3% five-year high as food prices continue to rise, according to data by the Office of National Statistics. Food prices, said to be balanced out by lower fuel costs and furniture prices, are expected to affect consumers this festive season.

The price of food and non-alcoholic beverages has increased to an annual rate of 4.1%, the highest since September 2013.

The Office of National Statistics’ data revealed that the price of vegetables in particular is rising at 5.7% on an annual basis ahead of Christmas, with retailers expressing concerns over inflation’s effect on buying and budgeting ahead of the biggest cooking day of the year.

The rise in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) had been previously predicted, as the Bank of England announced it would reach 3.2% this autumn.

With inflation rate remaining below the critical 3%, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has been spared writing an explanation to the chancellor.

However, Maike Currie at Fidelity International said for the BBC: “While the Bank of England raised interest rates at the beginning of this month given concerns over inflation, it will take some time for inflation to fall back nearer the 2% target.”

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The recent rise in inflation is said to have been affected by the fall in the value of the pound since last year’s Brexit referendum, as it increased the cost of imported goods.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe has told the BBC that the UK is ‘‘probably through the worst’’ of food price rises after the decline of the British pound.

With inflation and higher import costs, wage growth is unable to keep up with the pace of price growth, casting a shadow of uncertainty for British consumers over this year’s Christmas dinner.

Words: Asya Gadzheva | Subbing: Kate Kūlniece

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