'Profiteering crisis'

As inflation hits 40-year record high, Unite reiterates call for action on profiteering

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Inflation has hit a 40-year high according to the latest figures published today (August 17), which showed the RPI measure of inflation skyrocketing to 12.3 per cent in July, up from 11.8 per cent in June.

The newest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that rising food prices were the main driver of the latest rise in inflation, with food items as a whole rising by 12.7 per cent in July, up from 9.4 per cent the previous month. Prices for basics such as bread, milk, cheese and eggs have risen the fastest over the last month.

The ongoing rise in inflation may only get worse, with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimating that RPI inflation could exceed 17 per cent by the end of the year.

The latest grim inflation figures are more bad news for millions of workers and their families, after new data from the ONS showed that the value of UK workers’ wages has fallen at the fastest rate in over 20 years this June.

The figures showed that the real value of workers’ wages, measured against skyrocketing inflation, has fallen by 3 per cent in the three months to June – the fastest drop since records began in 2001.

Unite has reiterated that that the latest spike in inflation, accompanied by a huge drop in wages, once again highlights the fact that it is profiteering causing inflation, not wages.

This was a key finding in a report published by Unite in June on corporate profiteering. The report analysed the UK’s biggest listed companies in the FTSE 350, whose profit margins are an astonishing 73 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Even after removing energy companies – whose staggering profits have been widely reported –from the analysis, profit margins of the remaining companies are still up by 43 per cent.  

Commenting on the latest inflation figures, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Today inflation reached new perilous levels for workers and their families. Yesterday, real wages fell to the lowest on record. So, if today’s figures prove anything it’s that wages are not driving inflation. Since the pandemic, the FTSE top 350 have seen profits soar by 43 per cent. Britain has a profiteering crisis – when is something going to be done about that?”

By Hajera Blagg

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