According to a new study, more than four out of five people in the UK are worried about rising living costs and their ability to meet basic needs such as food and energy in the coming months.
Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON – A quarter of Britons have avoided food because the Bank of England recently called it an “apocalyptic” approach for consumers due to inflationary pressures and a growing food crisis.
More than four out of five people in the UK are worried about rising living costs and the ability to afford basic necessities such as food and energy in the coming months, according to a new survey released on Tuesday.
In a survey of 2,000 Britons conducted by Ipsos and Sky News, 89% said they were concerned about how the whole country would be affected by the cost of living in the next six months, while 83% were concerned about their personal situation. .
Although the picture is broadly similar across the country, those on lower wages were more concerned, with more than half of those earning less than £ 20,000 ($ 25,000) describing themselves as “very worried” about how this year would end. That compares to two out of five people earning £ 55,000 or more.
A leading British caterer said separately on Tuesday that schools were now facing a “difficult decision” to reduce the size of meals or use substandard ingredients amid rising prices.
‘Apocalyptic’ price increases
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said on Monday that rising prices and food shortages caused by the war in Ukraine were a real concern for Britain and many other parts of the world.
“There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this situation,” Bailey told the Treasury Committee in the House of Commons.
“Sorry to be defeated for a moment, but it’s a major concern,” he said.
Bailey added that such external factors would have a greater impact on price increases than recent or impending interest rate hikes. The head of the central bank, who has led four consecutive interest rate hikes since December, rejected suggestions that policymakers should have acted sooner to control inflation.
According to market researcher Kanta, British gross inflation reached 5.9% in April, the highest level since December 2011. Amid rising energy costs, broad-based UK inflation reached a 30-year high of 7% last month.
Marks & Spencer, a British retailer, warned on Tuesday that food inflation could rise further by 10% by the end of this year.
Archie Norman, chairman of the top food brand, told BBC Radio on Tuesday that “it is not surprising to see food prices rise to 8-10% year-on-year.” “Something is over now but there is still a lot to come.”
Norman added, however, that Bailey’s use of the word “apocalyptic” was due to broader economic factors, such as wage increases. “I will not use the term apocalyptic, certainly not for our customers,” he said.
The threat of a food crisis is growing
Concerns over food shortages have been growing in recent months as the war in Ukraine has exacerbated existing food supply chain problems.
Ukraine, seen as “Europe’s breadbasket”, failed to export grain, fertilizer and vegetable oil during the conflict, when ongoing fighting destroyed crop fields and disrupted regular harvests.
MHP, Ukraine’s largest producer and exporter of poultry and a major supplier of grain and sunflower oil, said on Tuesday that the current situation amounted to an agrarian crisis.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” John Rich, MHP’s executive chairman and an industry veteran, told CNBC.
“We have Covid, we’ve got a war, we’ve got China covid-zero policy – which has made freight almost impossible – and we’ve got climate change. “She is OK.
The United States and the European Union said over the weekend that they were looking at how to improve the food supply chain and navigate export restrictions.
This comes after India on Saturday announced a ban on wheat exports “to manage the country’s overall food security”. Indonesia, meanwhile, has imposed restrictions on palm oil exports – a key ingredient in many food products – to prevent food shortages at home.