Inflation latest: workers face 'bleak midwinter'

Latest figures show inflation only slightly easing but cost of living crisis still remains at 40-year high

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The rate of inflation easing only slightly according to the latest figures will be cold comfort for millions who are still struggling to make ends meet.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported on Wednesday (October 14) that the CPI rate of inflation fell from 11.1 per cent in October to 10.7 per cent last month. But the RPI rate of inflation – the measure Unite believes is more accurate — fell from 14.2 per cent to 14 per cent over the same time period.

Despite the easing in headline inflation, prices for many basic goods and services continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate than the previous month. Fuel prices rose by more than 17 per cent in the year to November, while prices for clothing and shoes rose by 7.5 per cent over the same time period.

Prices in the cost of hospitality such as restaurant meals, as well as health, food and household goods costs all rose between October and November.

Meanwhile, real wage growth continues to fall. On Tuesday (December 13), the ONS reported that in October, the UK experienced its second largest fall in real wage growth since records began in 2001.

The TUC published a separate analysis earlier this week showing that 2022 has been the worst year for real wage growth since 1977. The TUC estimated that on average, workers are £76 worse off each month in 2022 than they were a year ago as a result of wages failing to keep up with the cost of living.

For workers in the public sector, the situation is even worse, with these workers being on average £180 worse off each month in 2022 than last year.

Commenting on the latest inflation figures, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Although the inflation rate has eased very slightly, the cost of living is still close to a 40 year high. The latest figures again confirm that workers face a bleak midwinter.

“With the Government essentially calling for a national pay cut, wages still trail behind price rises,” she added. “Families and communities are being set up to pay the price of a crisis not of their making. Different choices can and must be made.

“Unite will continue to use all its might to fight for workers and win decent pay rises,” Graham continued. “In the last year we have already put over £200 million pounds back in the pockets of workers. This out of touch Government is on a collision course with everyday people and Unite stands ready to defend workers by all and every means.”

By Hajera Blagg