Welcome To Green Britain Where The Cost Of Living Is Rising Faster Than Anywhere In Europe
The cost of living in Britain is rising faster than anywhere in Europe, new figures reveal. Increases in energy, food and alcohol prices are fuelling the high inflation rate in the UK, as political leaders clash over the effect on household disposable income.
The big squeeze on family finances is being exacerbated by wages failing to rise in line with prices.
League table: New figures from Eurostat show how inflation in the UK is the highest in the EU
Official figures from the European Union today show that inflation in September was higher in the UK than in any of the 28 countries.
One average annual inflation across the EU was 1.3 per cent last month.
But in the UK the figure was 27 per cent, followed by Estonia (2.6 per cent) and the Netherlands (2.4 per cent).
By comparison the lowest annual rates were seen in Bulgaria (-1.3 per cent), Greece (-1.0 per cent) and Latvia (-0.4 per cent).
Food prices in the UK have risen by 4.3 per cent year-on-year, second highest only to Malta. Other countries seeing big increases in food include Finland (4.1 per cent), Germany (3.9 per cent) and Luxembourg and Slovenia (both 3.8 per cent).
Outside the EU food prices are 8.6 per cent higher in Turkey and 5 per cent up in Iceland.
Alcohol and tobacco costs have soared in many parts of Europe, rising by an eye-watering 12 per cent in Hungary, and more than 10 per cent in Cyprus, Croatia and Netherlands.
In many countries energy costs fell year-on-year, including in Bulgaria (-7 per cent), Hungary (-5.4 per cent) and Belgium (-5.3) per cent.
While prices are up 2.7 per cent year-on-year in the UK, the squeeze on family incomes has worsened. In September pay was just 0.7 per cent higher than in 2012, down from 1.2 per cent in August.
Catherine McKinnell, Labour’s shadow treasury minister, said: ‘This is yet more evidence of the cost of living crisis facing families across Britain after three years of this Government’s failing policies.
‘Prices have now risen faster than wages in 39 out of 40 months under David Cameron and now we learn that we have the highest rate of inflation of any EU country.’
Squeeze: Family finances are still under pressure with pay up just 0.7 per cent year-on-year while inflation is up 2.7 per cent
In the Commons today, Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the government of overseeing a ‘cost of living crisis’.
Mr Miliband said latest figures show ‘that prices have risen faster than wages and that in the 39 out of 40 months living standards have fallen since you became Prime Minister’.
He added: ‘There are almost a million young people and record numbers of people working part-time who can’t find full-time work. That is no cause for complacency from this Government.’
However, Mr Cameron insisted that disposable incomes were now rising.