Unemployment figures out today fall to pre-pandemic levels, but prices have gone up at their fastest rate in nearly 30 years.
The latest unemployment figures are, on the face of it, very good. The unemployment rate of
At 4.1%, the latest unemployment figures are only marginally above pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating that fears of a post-furlough scheme surge that ended on September 30 were misplaced.
Today’s figures show that whilst expensive, the furlough scheme was a great success. As the Prime Minister struggles with allegations of parties in Downing Street, the credit is going to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, his advisers and officials who designed it. A recent poll for Sky News shows that almost half of all Tory members now believe that Rishi Sunak would make a better leader and could win more seats at the next election than Boris Johnson.
Bank of England criticised:
Delaying an interest rate rise in November due to worries about a post-furlough jobless rise, The Bank of England has come under increasing attack as interest rates continue to surge. As a result, it was announced today that prices have gone up at their fastest rate in nearly 30 years, with analysts suggesting that the worst is yet to come.
In a blow to family budgets, soaring food and energy prices drove inflation to 5.4% in the 12 months to December, up from 5.1% the month before. The last time inflation was higher was in March 1992, when it was 7.1%. With energy prices set to rise further, analysts predict it may reach that level again.
With the Government seeking to review the energy price cap in April, fuel bills could increase by another 50% in the next few months.
The Bank of England is under increasing pressure to raise interest rates as inflation put pressures on mortgages, pensions and the cost of living.
The cost of living will get worse:
Commenting on the cost-of-living crisis, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I understand the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, and we will continue to listen to people’s concerns as we have done throughout the pandemic.”
He said the Government was providing support worth about £12 billion this financial year and next to help families cope.
Shadow Treasury secretary Pat McFadden said: “These figures show that the cost-of-living crisis is only going to get worse in the coming months.
“Working families are already feeling the crunch. But the triple whammy of an imminent rise in the energy price cap, real wages falling and Tory tax rises coming down the tracks are going to make this crisis even worse.”