Soaring food and energy prices alarm UK residents

Families and businesses alike are feeling the effects of rising prices

Inflation in the UK has spurred immense apprehension among citizens. An estimated 4 in 10 (44%) people have reduced their food shopping, as revealed by UK’s Office for National Statistics, bolstering the cost of living in the country.

Restaurateurs are being compelled to increase the price of dishes on their menus due to rising commodity and energy costs. Whereas consumers struggle to purchase daily food items as the cost-of-living skyrockets in the country.

Profit margins are fundamental for any business to thrive. Small businesses are struggling to stat afloat with decreased profits. As for Sarfraz Alam Khan, restaurateur, and owner of Winton Tandoori (Bournemouth) for 37 years, the pandemic was a major blow and led to hard times in sustaining the business.  He said: “Small businesses like us, we have been struggling a lot, now it has slowly picked up but because of inflation, profit margins are not good at the moment.”

One of the greatest challenges faced by small businesses is the escalating energy and foodstuff prices, causing a devastating effect on the business.  “All the prices have gone up, just because we are a family business we are surviving at the moment. He further added, ‘If this continues in the future, it will be hard to run the business.’’

The current cost-of-living problem is particularly serious as several factors drive high inflation rates. A combination of events, ranging from Brexit to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, is constraining the supply of everything, which may be the reason propelling the economic damage. As per the Office for National Statistics analysis of the consumer prices index (CPI), consumer prices increased by 9% in the 12 months.

Syed Ali, staff at Winton Tandoori said: “The situation is getting worse and worse, the future does not look so bright because the price of everything has gone up, whatever we use in the restaurant, including fuel, utility bill, chicken meat, veg, oil, wine.’’

“The business is not like it used to be; we are hoping for the good days” he further added.

With the cost of living crisis, students on the other hand are changing their eating habits to sustain on a fixed grocery budget every month. David Nwou, a student of MA Political Communications at Bournemouth University.

“It has made it hard to purchase a few things like meats and fish, which is now more expensive than what it used to be, it has shrunk what I can buy for the budget that I have, especially as a student.”

For David, budgeting is super important, and with the prices of food on the rise, going over budget is not an option. He said: “I have now started shopping more basic ranges, where I would’ve previously used name brands. Like chicken, I wouldn’t get as much, or I might skip it sometimes If it feels like I might be going over my budget for the week.”

Inflation has caused extraordinary concern for the future of households. Students are worried to find high paying jobs to have a better living. There are no signs these prices will alleviate anytime soon.

“Yes, I can’t guarantee that I am going to get a job after uni and that jobs that would be available if they don’t pay enough for me to live and to pay my rent, or to buy food or atleast have some sort of life then it is quite worrying.”

According to the analysis by ONS, Adults with low salaries, those who rent their homes, and those without formal education were the most likely to say they couldn’t afford this unexpected price. The government has announced measures to offer support, worth 37 billion to aid the country amid the energy and food crisis. As consumer goods and energy prices are pushing inflation higher, these policies are meant to benefit vulnerable householders to withstand the cost-of-living crisis.   David said: “I am quite disappointed in how the government has handled it. For myself, because I am working and I budget well, I am handling it better than I think some other people would be able to who don’t have as much leeway or saved up a bit beforehand going into this.”

“There are going to be lots of people that are suffering already or will suffer even more so.”

David Nwou
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