Unsurprisingly, UK inflation has increased yet again, reaching 9.4%. Cost of living will get higher for many when including cost repercussions from the Ukraine crisis and energy costs rising. Patrick Brusnahan speaks to the experts on what to do next after these UK inflation rises
Lewis Shaw, founder, Shaw Financial Services
We are in an economic cyclone and neither the Bank of England nor the politicians running this country have a clue what to do. Instead of working in the nation’s interests, the Tory party is navel-gazing and the Bank of England has tentatively upped rates, which has achieved nothing and simply added fuel to the fire. Our politicians and the Bank of England are fiddling while Rome burns, and they seem to have no idea how painful this is for the average family struggling to make ends meet. Worst of all, it’s set to get a whole lot worse with the rising energy price cap, and more problems are coming down the tracks with further price shocks in food due to the war in Ukraine. The country needs a reset, and it needs it now.
Samuel Mather-Holgate, Mather & Murray Financial
Most of the inflation in the UK is ‘imported’, meaning that the Bank of England and the Government cannot really influence it by interest rate movements or fiscal stimulus. The cost of energy and food is set by world markets and a percentage increase in interest rates won’t do anything about it. However, a further cut in fuel duty VAT could have the opposite effect. It would help consumers at a time of real stress, but will cut costs to business logistics and help keep prices down. I think that the next Chancellor will seriously look at this option, as it’s one of few good ones they will have.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown
With inflation running at 9.4% there is no escaping the heat in the economy and it’s going to make policymakers at the Bank of England sweat. They face the supremely tricky task of rapidly cooling down prices, without pushing growth into the deep freeze. The economy sorely needs to be doused by a bucket of ultra cold water, but the labour market is still red hot and promises of tax cuts by Prime Ministerial contenders risk seeing prices staying elevated as demand for goods and services is kept higher.
The likelihood is growing that this fresh scorcher of a reading will mean the Bank of England will push up rates by 0.5% at the meeting in August. The governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey has reiterated that it’s inflation which is the clear and present danger facing the economy right now. In a speech at the Mansion House last night he stressed that it would continue to be the focus and that there were no ifs and buts in the Bank’s commitment to the 2% target.
Andrew Aldridge, partner, Deepbridge Capital
With inflation reaching a 40 year high, investors and financial advisers will be scratching their heads regarding where there might be inflation-busting investment opportunities. For long-term growth opportunities, venture capital might be an opportunity that can no longer be ignored – with unrivalled tax reliefs available via the Enterprise Investment Scheme, short-term tax planning can support longer-term growth opportunities.
Jeremy Batstone-Carr, European strategist, Raymond James
If the heatwave wasn’t making politicians, central bankers and the British public sweat enough, there was more troubling news this morning as surging petrol prices drove UK inflation to 9.4%. What is even more worrying is that inflationary pressures will not cool off anytime soon, and Ofgem’s upcoming 45% price cap increase could help drive inflation to highs of 10-11% as summer turns to autumn.
The employment environment remains robust, with the unemployment rate near a 50-year low and nominal wage growth remaining strong. However, the ex-bonus rate of wage growth in excess of 4.0% does not sit well with the Bank of England’s 2.0% medium term inflation target.
The pressure on the Bank of England to tackle the inflation threat will continue to heat up, meaning a faster pace of interest rate hiking is extremely likely when the Monetary Policy Committee next meets in early August.