Question Time: Liam Halligan says 'real inflation is much higher'
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GB News Economics editor Liam Halligan said the crisis has been “months in the making” and the British economy has struggled to “get into gear” following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown. Mr Halligan warned that prices had been rising even before Vladimir Putin “chose to invade Ukraine” but that the war had caused prices to “soar”.
He said: “We’re heading for the biggest fall in living standards since the 1950s and Rishi Sunak’s spring statement will do little to offset that drop.
“This cost of living squeeze has been months in the making, as we emerge from lockdown, global supply chains remain broken.
“Demand has surged but our economy has struggled to get into gear, causing prices to rise even before Vladimir Putin chose to invade Ukraine.
“UK inflation was at a 30 year high. Now this conflict is stopping Russian and Ukrainian crops and energy exports reaching global markets again, causing prices to soar.”
Mr Halligan went on to argue that the increase in utility bills, national insurance contributions and council tax bills will make things “significantly tighter”.
Households energy bills are increasing by an average of £693 a year as the energy price cap is increasing by 54 percent this month.
According to the Trade Union Congress, this means that energy prices will rise 14 times faster than wages.
The increase is partially caused by issues around global supply chains trying to reestablish themselves following a long period of limited trade during the coronavirus pandemic, with demand outstripping supply.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also increased oil prices and caused global anxiety amongst investors about the global supply and trade of oil and gas.
He said: “From today, April 1 household utility bills go up 54 percent on average to almost £2000 a year, with bills set to rise even further in the autumn.
“Also from today, council tax bills rise by 3 percent on average, although those in bans A to D are in line for a £150 rebate.
“From next week, national insurance contributions increase by 1.25 percentage points, for employers and employees.
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“That will cost basic rate taxpayers an extra £178 on average. While those on higher rate tax will pay £715 more.
“As these higher bills and tax rises take hold, wheat, barley and fertiliser prices are soaring, pushing up food and drink prices in the shops, restaurants and pubs.
“Petrol and diesel costs are also on the up of course.
“It’s now almost £100 to fill up a family car and Sunak’s spring statement fuel duty cut has been only partially passed on by retailers, with pump prices still rising.
“GB News has been highlighting inflation and the rising cost of living for months. But today’s the day when the cost of living squeeze got significantly tighter.”
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