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Huge rise in the price of food in Britain

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Jon Swaine
The Telegraph, London
Friday, September 5, 2008

Supermarket food prices are soaring, with the price of key items rising at several times the rate of inflation, figures show.

The price of fresh food has risen by 12 per cent since the start of the year, while meat and fish now cost 23 per cent more on average. Meanwhile, chicken and ham have risen by 42 and 45 per cent since January, placing the former staples out of many consumers' price range.

The rises in the price of both basic pasta and basmati rice have also smashed through the 40 per cent barrier.

Even so-called slump-proof tinned foods have registered a price rise of 15 per cent -- more than three times the Government's official inflation rate of 4.4 per cent.

Shoppers suffering as a result of the credit crisis would be advised to stock up on ready meals, according to the research, as since the start of the year they have fallen in price by 0.4 per cent.

The figures, which were compiled by the research company Verdict, show that in general the price of food has risen by more than 8 per cent since January

They come as the latest blow to British consumers, who face rising costs across several fronts. Petrol prices have risen by a quarter since last summer, while utility bills have been hiked at an unprecedented rate.

Last week it was announced that house prices are falling at their fastest rate for nearly 20 years, while families have found rises in their disposable income have ground to a halt.

On Thursday the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee resisted calls for cuts in interest rates, voting to keep them at 5 per cent for a fifth successive month, despite fears that the economy may plunge into recession if the cost of borrowing money is not brought down.

However many analysts believe that pressure on the Bank from the other side will also intensify, with Consumer Prices Index inflation, the rate preferred by the Government, likely to rise to about 5 per cent.

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