Press Releases

Inflation blow to Brexit Britain: living costs continue to outstrip wages

Today’s inflation rise mounts further pressure on Britain’s households

  • Costs continue to outstrip wages for majority: over the last decade inflation has cancelled out growth in pay, leaving real wages below pre-crisis levels
  • Britain’s pre-Brexit economy is on shaky ground: any further currency shocks will lead to additional costs for debt-laden households
  • Urgent action needed to protect worst-off: today’s inflation rise should be matched with efforts to reduce living costs, from housing to energy

In response to today’s updated inflation figures, showing a higher than expected rise of 2.3%, Stephen Devlin, Senior Economist at the New Economics Foundation, said:

Today’s inflation rise mounts further pressure on Britain’s households, with millions struggling under record levels of debt. Nominal wages have failed to keep up with rising costs for well over a decade now and the consequences will be inevitably felt most keenly by those on low incomes.”

The Prime Minister and Chancellor have sought to paint a rosy picture of Britain’s economic outlook ahead of Brexit, but today’s figures are a stark reminder of the reality — rising costs, debts, and growing risk of stagflation.”

If sterling takes a further hit over the course of Brexit negotiations, it will be households who pay the price. It is more important than ever that the government matches today’s inflation rise with renewed efforts to reduce living costs, from municipal energy projects that will cut bills, to boosting community-led affordable housing.”

Notes to editors

  1. The New Economics Foundation is the UK’s only people-powered think tank. The Foundation works to build a new economy where people really take control. www​.newe​co​nom​ics​.org
  2. All comments in response to the ONS UK consumer price inflation update, released 21 March 2017 https://​www​.ons​.gov​.uk/​r​e​l​e​a​s​e​s​/​u​k​c​o​n​s​u​m​e​r​p​r​i​c​e​i​n​d​i​c​e​s​f​e​b2017

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