The Chair Of The NATO Military Committee Visits Iceland

Consumer Price Index inflation up by more than expected to 5.4% in December 

  • Energy bills at one hotel in Scarborough are up from £2,000 to £10,000 a month

  • Richard Walker, the boss of Iceland, said customers were turning to food banks 

  • By Rory Tingle, Home Affairs Correspondent For Mailonline

    Published: | Updated:

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    Businesses today told of the grim impacts of soaring inflation, with hotels forced to close floors to save money on energy bills, shops locked in a 'fight to survive' and Iceland warning rising prices were forcing customers to turn to food banks.  

    The rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in Britain has increased by more than expected to 5.4 per cent - up from 5.1 per cent in November and its highest rate in 30 years, ONS data revealed today. 

    Sadie Shard, who runs the Crescent Hotel in Scarborough, said she had gone from paying £2,000 a month to energy to £10,000. 

    'We've closed the bar a few times a week because we're not taking enough money to cover our energy bills, and we've been closing a few floors when there aren't guests there so we're not using any unnecessary gas,' she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. 

    'We've got no choice but to increase our prices. Usually in the winter months hotels drop their prices but we can't do that.'

    Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, said that rising prices, a fall in real-term wages, tax rises, and a cut to Universal Credit top-ups had hit customers with a 'perfect storm' of problems.

    'There has been an alarming increase in food branches in the country – I think there are more food banks now than there are branches of McDonalds,' he said. 'This is no exaggeration: there are people out there facing the choice between eating and heating, and we are losing customers to hunger.' 

    Barry Whitehouse, owner of Banbury-based art shop, The Artery said:

    Barry Whitehouse, owner of Banbury-based art shop, The Artery said: 'It is the perfect storm for small businesses'

    Adam Bamford, co-founder of Derby-based corporate gift supplier Colleague Box said:

    Adam Bamford, co-founder of Derby-based corporate gift supplier Colleague Box said: 'I absolutely hate raising our prices but the reality is we are being left with no choice'

    Mr Walker said he expected inflation to increase further, adding: 'We've been talking about inflation hitting food prices for some time, because it's occurring throughout the supply chain: everything from commodity prices, labour shortages, shipping and HGV driver costs, energy prices, national minimum wage increases, new types of taxation.

    'Business is not some endless sponge that can forever soak up these costs so we'll see the effects on the shelf. It's the perfect storm for our consumers.' 

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    Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10419269/Grim-reality-inflation-ravaged-Britain.html

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