The head of one of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains has warned that people are facing “real food poverty for the first time in a generation.”
The warning comes as the cost of goods skyrockets due to inflation, with a former chief economist for the Bank of England warning that rising prices could continue to inflict pain on people for years to come.
According to The Times, the head of the supermarket giant Tesco, John Allan, said that many shoppers are struggling to make ends meet.
“I was in some stores on Friday and I was hearing for the first time for many years of customers saying to checkout staff ‘Stop when you get to £40, I don’t want to spend a penny over that’,” the publication reports the grocery tsar as saying.
“I think that many of them are struggling to both be able to heat their homes and to feed their families,” he said. “And I think we’re seeing, you know, real food poverty for the first time in a generation.”
Allan added that he hopes the government will step in to alleviate the strain on Brits struggling with costs, suggesting the government hold back from a planned payroll tax hike to leave the public with more money to pay for food and utilities.
Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s former chief economist, warned that the damaging inflation Britain is facing could last for years.
“I’m slightly fearful, [this inflation] might stick around for some little while as well,” Andy Haldane said to The Guardian.
“This won’t be come and gone in a matter of months,” he continued. “I think this could be years rather than months.”
Economic strategist and Cribstone Strategic Macro founder Mike Harris told CNBC that the UK economy is extremely vulnerable as a result of inflation, comparing the situation to the U.S. Federal Reserve before the 2008 crash.
“…we’re in an environment where we’re probably going to destroy more demand than we should have because the Bank of England and [former governor] Mark Carney didn’t do their job as they should have,” the strategist said, adding that a recent 1 percent rate hike would not curb inflation, and cause issues with the market.
“It’s a little like the [Federal Reserve] in 2007 and before, where they were allowing people to take mortgages when they knew they couldn’t repay them if house prices fell because they had to refinance so there’s an inherent unsustainability,” he continued, “I would say the U.K. is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world right now.”