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Minister: Every 1% of food price inflation adds £33 to average annual bill

Shoppers can expect the average annual food bill to increase by £33 for every 1% in food price inflation a minister warned (Martin Rickett/PA)
Shoppers can expect the average annual food bill to increase by £33 for every 1% in food price inflation a minister warned (Martin Rickett/PA)

Shoppers can expect the average annual food bill to increase by £33 for every 1% in food price inflation, according to an environment minister.

Victoria Prentis said year-on-year food price inflation rose to 8.7% in May, up from 6.7% in April, in response to a written parliamentary question.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), this is the highest rise since March 2009.

Ms Prentis said analysis by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which is based on ONS data, shows that “every 1% increase in food price inflation increases the average, annual food bill of the UK household by £33”.

Her comments were in response to Labour MP Sam Tarry (Ilford South), who asked the Government to assess the implications of its policies given the findings of research by Kantar, that the average annual grocery bill in the UK “will potentially rise by £380 this year”.

Shadow environment secretary Jim McMahon said taxes are going up and “food and energy bills are spiralling out of control” under the Conservatives.

He told the PA news agency: “People feel the cost of food every day, with many forced to cut back.

“You can’t level up the country on an empty stomach.”

He added: “It beggars belief that during a cost-of-living crisis, the Government still haven’t cut VAT on energy bills.

“Labour’s plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis would put money back in people’s pockets.”

According to forecasts published from data firm Kantar, the average consumer’s annual grocery bill is on course to increase by £380.

Kantar monitors the shopping habits of 30,000 households across the UK and the figure is more than £100 higher than the company’s previous projection, reported in April.

Ms Prentis said: “We are concerned by the rising pressures on household incomes and are monitoring them closely.

“We continue to monitor food prices using the ONS inflation figures.

“Year-on-year food price inflation rose to 8.7% in May, up from 6.7% in April. Defra analysis, based upon ONS data, shows that every 1% increase in food price inflation increases the average, annual food bill of the UK household by £33.”

On the actions the Government is taking, Ms Prentis said: “Defra is taking action to maintain an efficient food supply chain by mitigating against any potential burdens or friction which could otherwise drive up consumer food prices.

“For example, we have introduced labelling flexibility to reduce additional cost burdens resulting from the availability of sunflower oil.

“We have also taken action to address current fertiliser issues including: changing statutory guidance to the Environment Agency on how they should implement the ‘farming rules for water’ to provide clarity to farmers on how they can use slurry and other manures during autumn and winter to meet agronomic needs; increasing grant funding to help farmers and growers boost research and development; and delaying changes to the use of area by at least a year.

“The Government has also announced that direct payments in England will be paid in two instalments each year for the remainder of the agricultural transition period to help farmers with their cashflow.”