Foodbank use to rise as cost of living increases?

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According to the latest Retail Price Index report, which was published yesterday by Statistics Jersey, the cost of goods and services increased by 4.2 per cent over the past year – the highest inflation rate for six years.

The cost of domestic fuel, such as heating oil, soared by 8.6 per cent, while the cost of food also increased during the period by three per cent.

Anne King, the executive officer of the Jersey Consumer Council, said that she was particularly concerned by rising food and fuel costs, the effect of which could be felt severely by customers during the winter.

She added that further high inflation levels can be expected due to Brexit making food imports more expensive and US sanctions against Iran increasing the cost of oil further.

‘We are very concerned that the cost of goods has gone up so much in the past 12 months in Jersey,’ she said.

‘And this is really before we get the impact of Brexit and of US sanctions later this year. It is going to be a tough time for consumers and what is really concerning is that costs have gone up by much more in Jersey than they have in the UK – in particular the cost of household goods.

‘The impact of this is that (a) people are not going to be able to save money in case they need it for a rainy day and (b) affordable living is going to become more difficult.

‘We have good weather at the moment, but when the winter kicks in this is going have a big impact on consumers.’

Mrs King said that before this year’s election the council issued a survey to candidates, the vast majority of whom indicated a preference for more detailed statistics on food prices being published.

‘We are concerned that Brexit is going to cause further price rises on food. What you are going to see is a greater reliance on food banks,’ she said.

‘Maybe with the introduction of Tesco Alliance and Morrisons over here we will hopefully see a positive difference in the next quarter.

‘We surveyed all the candidates standing before the election and they said that there should be a more detailed breakdown of food prices in the Island.’

The biggest driver of the rising inflation rate, which was 1.3 per cent higher than for statistics recorded in March, was housing costs, which went up by 5.1 per cent over the year.

A particular factor was increased mortgage costs following a hike in the Bank of England’s base rate in November 2017.

The costs of household services, such as telephone charges and postage fees, has also contributed to the higher inflation rate, as did the cost of leisure activities, such as foreign holidays, entertainment and motoring, which was affected by rising oil prices.

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