Photo: Wikipedia Commons
The frozen foods aisle at a local grocery store
The price of basic purchases, such as food and fuel, have soared 43 per cent in the last decade. Ordinary families have been crippled by the skyrocketing cost of essential goods over the past ten years, a report has found.
These rising costs – far above general inflation – have already wiped out most of the gains in living standards made by families on low and modest incomes in the early 2000s, before the downturn began, according to research.
The analysis, which was commissioned by the Resolution Foundation think-tank, revealed the squeeze on living standards for ordinary households has been more severe than previously thought.
It found 30 per cent of working-age households now have incomes that are too low to afford the essential basket of goods.
According to the think tank’s boss, Britain is ‘in danger of drifting back into recession in 2012’. The report also showed that Labour’s stewardship of the economy may not have benefited ordinary families as much as the party had claimed.
Some household costs increased even more dramatically than the 43 per cent average, according to the study.
Household fuel has more than doubled in price during the 2000s and water bills have increased by 63 per cent, the report said.
Report author Donald Hirsch, from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, said: ‘This research shows the dramatic impact recent price increases have had on the ability of households to afford a minimum standard of living.
‘Of course, global pressures on prices are largely beyond our control.
‘But that makes it all the more important that we do all we can to reduce pressures in areas where we can make a difference, such as transport costs, council tax and energy prices.’
The analysis is based on the commonly accepted essential basket of goods, which includes food, fuel, public transport and very occasional treats for families with children. Fuel prices have more than doubled in the last decade
The official inflation measure, the Consumer Price Index, takes into account a wider basket of goods. Over the decade to 2010, CPI was 27 per cent.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that demand for frozen meals has rocketed among cash-strapped Britons desperate to cut their grocery bills and produce popular family meals for less.
The latest market data has revealed that the frozen food retail market has grown by 5.2 per cent since 2010. Volume sales of frozen meat and poultry are up 5.5 per cent, pizza by 3.6 per cent and frozen fish by 3.4 per cent.
Brian Young, director general of the British Frozen Food Federation, told The Grocer magazine: ‘In times of economic uncertainty choosing frozen meat and poultry allows consumers to make their favorite meals and foods at a much lower price point.’