Category Archives: Inflation

You have less money to spend because of inflation and interest rate rises. Why are markets shocked?

The Bank of England: why is it raising interest rates to fight inflation that won’t exist by the time the changes begin to take effect?

Interesting thread from Richard Murphy, explaining why you have less disposable cash – and questioning why the markets are so shocked about it:

Comments?

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Inflation tops 10% again: more bad news for Liz Truss

This is from the Office for National Statistics:

The CPI measure of inflation rose to 10.1% in September.

The figure climbed from 9.9% in August to match the recent 40-year high seen in July.

The ONS said the largest upwards driver came from food costs, while fuel provided the greatest downside pressure.

It seems supermarkets and other retailers are passing their increased costs on to consumers – that means you and me.

You can bet Liz Truss will be asked about this in Prime Minister’s Questions.

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Tories line up to challenge Liz Truss over benefits and inflation

Robert Halfon: He’s supporting benefit uprating in line with inflation.

After Penny Mordaunt told Liz Truss she should honour a promise to uprate social security benefits in line with inflation, other Tories are lining up to support her.

Here’s Robert Halfon, saying Truss should not effectively cut benefits in order to pay for her tax cuts for the very rich:

If you didn’t catch what Mordaunt said, it was in an interview with Times Radio, which you can see here:

This Writer has tweeted on the subject (of course):

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Truss challenged: will she link benefits to inflation or punish the poor?

In the midst of the Conservative Party Conference, new prime minister Liz Truss is facing a hard challenge to her leadership.

Here’s Professor Tim Wilson to explain:

Linking benefits to inflation was a Boris Johnson policy that – like so many others – he never got round to (probably because he was too busy partying, giving away perks to Tory friends and donors, and meeting Russian oligarchs without the benefit of Foreign Office chaperones).

Ms Mordaunt, who is Leader of the House of Commons, is quoted by BBC News as having said,

“We want to make sure that people are looked after and that people can pay their bills. We are not about trying to help people with one hand and take away with another.”

This made Truss look very bad when she responded that the government has to be “fiscally responsible” and bring down the national debt.

She’s saying that cutting the amount of money going into the economy from private sources – which is all the national debt is – is more important than the homes, lives and livelihoods of millions of UK citizens.

And those millions include people in work whose wages have been squeezed so low – by the Tories over the last 12 years – that they have to claim benefits simply to try to make ends meet.

Failing to link payments with inflation will mean that benefits will no longer fulfil that function after Tory policies ensured that inflation skyrocketed.

So Truss’s choice is to honour Johnson’s pledge and find a different way than cutting benefits to reach her own target, or to stab the UK’s most vulnerable people in the back. And that is now public knowledge.

The reason it is now public knowledge is Penny Mordaunt. How long do you think she is going to keep her job?

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Milk, cheese and egg costs push food inflation to highest point in 14 years

Is this a good time to turn vegan?

The cost of milk, cheese and eggs is soaring – which strikes This Writer as odd. Doesn’t the UK produce plenty of these foodstuffs? Aren’t we now a major exporter of cheese, thanks to Liz Truss?

Yet there seems to be a shortage and it’s being blamed on the war in Ukraine. One has to query how that will play if the current situation there continues and Russia is pushed out of that country altogether.

Meanwhile, we’re being told that headline inflation has fallen because petrol and diesel prices have fallen.

But the UK’s situation remains precarious because all these elements are dependent on situations in foreign countries that cannot be controlled here.

It casts a long shadow over the globalism that Conservatives have pushed on us since the 1980s.

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Why didn’t the government act on energy price cap increase earlier? It’s what we expected!

Martin Lewis: he’s been saying the government has been able to predict the rise in the energy price cap for months – so why hasn’t it acted to protect vulnerable people yet?

Here’s a good question, posed by a Facebook friend of This Writer:

“Why [announce the inflation-dictated energy price cap rise in] October? Is that because the inflation rate, by which pensions are increased the following April, is set in September?

“Whether its intended that way or not (and I’m a cynic, I’d say it is), pensioners won’t get the inflation rise caused by October’s and April’s energy price rises – until April 2024 – having to go a whole year with insufficient money.

“It might apply to other benefits too.”

Can you see anything wrong with the reasoning here – especially when we knew the rise was coming and could predict exactly what it would be.

That’s what Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis says, anyway (along with very many other pertinent points) in this clip:

So there’s no reason for the government to deprive pensioners (and possibly benefit recipients) of inflation-linked pensions and benefits – or, indeed, to have delayed mitigating measures until after a new prime minister is sworn in.

And now we know that – possibly at least in part because of this failure – the number of people in fuel poverty, spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy bills, is likely to almost double, from 4.3 million to 8.9 million within 12 months.

The price cap is now set to rise from £1,971 per year to £3,549 per year on October 1, and is projected to rise to an excruciating peak of £6,616 – almost double again what it is rising to reach in October.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has said options for further household support packages are being drawn up – but we are also expected to cut our electricity use by between 15 and 30 per cent, according to our means.

To me, this suggests that the Tories are preparing to blame members of the public if they die of cold this winter, by pretending that they didn’t cut their energy use enough.

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Tories in trouble as voters identify issues they’re ignoring as reasons to vote them out

Sunak and Truss: whoever wins the race to become prime minister will not be smiling when they have to deal with the issues that might force their government out of office – and they realise they have no answers.

Oh dear, oh dear: the Conservative Party is facing electoral collapse after people who voted Tory in 2019 identified the issues the next prime minister should tackle – and they’re mostly issues that party wants to ignore.

According to a Daily Express article, these include:

  • Inflation
  • The cost of living/energy bills
  • Delays in treatment by the National Health Service

Neither Liz Truss nor Rishi Sunak have shown much interest in any of these – having to be dragged into discussing the topics.

The only issue discussed by the voters the newspaper polled, in which the Conservatives have shown any interest, is immigration – a fake issue created by the Tory government as part of its ongoing “divide and rule” policy of presenting us all with an enemy to hate.

Sadly, they seem to have fooled a large number of people with it.

Whoever takes up the – some would say poisoned – chalice of the premiership in September, they will have to address these problems as a matter of urgency, or face the prospect of losing all the Parliamentary seats Boris Johnson won in 2019. That is a career-ending prospect.

Source: Furious Tory voters reveal key issues as party risks losing next general election

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UK faces train disruption during second widespread rail strike in a week

The cause of the problem: if Boris Johnson thinks he’ll enjoy decent rail travel after his decisions caused inflation to soar, plunging workers into financial crisis, he’d better think again. The trouble is, his likely successors are unlikely to solve the problem because they are as pig-headed as he is.

Commuters were encouraged to find alternative routes to their destinations on Saturday as around 5,000 train drivers went on strike for higher pay.

Drivers’ union ASLEF called the strike because current franchise agreements between the government and the mostly foreign-owned firms that run UK rail services allow for pay rises of only two per cent – in effect, pay cuts with inflation running at 9.4 per cent, its highest in 40 years.

The strike is said to have cancelled almost all services run by seven of the UK’s 34 train operators, but is unlikely to break a stalemate between ASLEF and industry organisation the Rail Delivery Group, which says operators will give bigger pay rises only if train drivers agreed to changes in working practices that would save money.

According to International Business Times, RDG chair Steve Montgomery said,

“We’re not saying to people ‘work longer hours’, but to be more productive within the hours they currently have.”

How are they supposed to do that? They drive trains that run according to specific schedules, meaning their use of time is determined by their bosses, not them.

IBT also stated:

Soaring inflation … and patchy wage rises have exacerbated labour tensions across sectors including postal services, health, schools, airports and the judiciary.

So brace yourself for strikes in all those sectors as well. ASLEF is planning another one-day strike on August 13.

Source: Britain’s trains disrupted in second widespread rail strike in a week

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Interest rates may rise by a quarter of a per cent. Don’t panic!

The Bank of England: it’s raising interest rates in what looks like another bonus for the super-rich – and penalty for the rest of us.

Yes, it seems interest rates are set to rise to their highest point in 13 years but for those of us with mortgages and loans to pay, it’s only likely to go up to one per cent.

It’s potentially good news for those of us with savings – and remember that such people are expected to use their savings to smooth over the cost-of-living increases that are being forced on us by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – because it means we’ll have higher interest payments.

That’s if our savings last long enough for any interest to be recorded, of course. Otherwise it’s just another bonus for the super-rich.

The Bank of England is expected to increase its base interest rate to the highest level in 13 years in a bid to tackle inflation.

It is predicted to rise to 1% amid soaring food, energy and fuel prices that saw inflation hit a 30-year high of 7% in March.

Markets expect the bank rate to hit 1.25% later this year, going up to 1.5% by mid-2023.

There’s no explanation in the Sky News report (quoted above) of exactly how increasing interest rates will tackle inflation, so This Writer will believe it when I see it happen.

Source: Bank of England expected to raise interest rate to 13-year high to tackle inflation

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Rees-Mogg’s Brexit shame: he admits UK trade checks would be ‘act of self-harm’

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he can’t laugh this off.

Import checks set to be imposed on EU goods entering the UK have been delayed for a year and a half after arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted they would be an “act of self-harm”.

But the checks were part of the UK’s conditions for leaving the European Union, so Rees-Mogg – now the euphemistically-titled Minister for Brexit Opportunities – is saying that the UK’s departure from the EU is actually harmful to the nation.

That’s a big u-turn from a major supporter of Brexit. We would be justified in asking why he has spent the last seven years (or so) claiming the opposite. Was it a deliberate lie?

“You’re admitting that this could save £1billion, which is admitting that checks would cost £1billion. I thought that post-Brexit checks were not going to be disruptive?” he was asked by [a] reporter.

“That’s why we’re not adopting them,” he replied. “This would have been an act of self-harm if we’d gone ahead with it.

“It would have increased costs for people and we are trying to reduce costs… free trade is hugely advantageous to consumers.”

It means UK exporters are now at a considerable financial disadvantage compared with EU firms importing goods into the UK:

That’s right – EU goods are allowed through into the UK with no checks while UK goods are still subject to comprehensive checks on entering the EU.

It means that the UK will essentially continue to depend on the EU to monitor food safety.

And who’s to say that other things may be imported into the UK, with no checks to stop them?

People, perhaps?

That would really spoil Priti Patel’s party, after she proudly fanfared her plan to deport channel-crossing asylum-seekers to Rwanda. What if they start coming by unchecked food lorry instead?

Port authorities are considering legal action against the Tory government to recover the cost of building border control posts they believe may now never be used, as well.

The simple fact is that Tories like Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson – who was the poster boy of Brexit alongside that other horror, Nigel Farage – never bothered to consider the consequences of their hasty and thoughtless departure from the European Union.

It seems clear that they had been led to believe in some possibly-mythical profit for themselves (Tories never make changes without expecting to make some money out of it, somewhere down the line).

But now they are being forced to work through the consequences of their stupidity as the nation demands that they solve the problems they have created, that are costing us an alleged £800 million per week.

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg makes Remain argument by calling Brexit measures ‘act of self-harm’