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Going hungry in the UK due to historically high levels of food inflation risks becoming “the new normal” for millions of people, according to a study released on Tuesday. world news
The study by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex said it was “concerning” that 14 percent of the population was now suffering from food poverty.
“Access to food in the UK is very inequitable, and we believe that more attention needs to be placed on overcoming these inequities than simply focusing on increased food production through ever more industrialised agriculture,” said IDS director Melissa Leach said in a statement.
From fewer than 100 food banks in the UK a decade ago, the number rose to more than 2,000 in 2021, with 9.7 million people in food poverty in September 2022, according to the study.
“Over the last decade, charities have stepped in to plug the gaps left by the state but this is not an acceptable or sustainable way to address the growing prevalence of hunger,” Leach added.
The study comes as soaring food prices are up more than 18 percent in the year to May, according to latest official figures, despite a slight slowdown in the rate of increase.
The UK is in the grip of a cost of living crisis, with inflation hitting 8.7 percent last month, resulting in Britons buying less food, according to data released last week.
Under pressure to bring prices down, the main British supermarket chains told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that they were doing everything possible.
Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) watchdog is currently investigating whether a lack of competition between UK supermarkets has resulted in higher prices for shoppers.
But Tesco commercial director Gordon Gafa told the business and trade committee this was an unfounded claim.
“We have not made more profit year-on-year. We have actually made seven percent less profit versus our last financial year. It’s important to be clear on that from the outset,” Gafa said.
“Food inflation slowed for the second consecutive month (in June), particularly for fresh products, as retailers cut the price of many staples including milk, cheese and eggs,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, told the committee.
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Notes from APS Radio News
During the past few years, a number of the world’s central banks have engaged in massive programs of monetary expansion, even as jobs and businesses were lost by way of virus-related restrictions and quarantines.
For example, beginning in March of 2020, the US Federal Reserve engaged in a substantially greater program of monetary expansion by purchasing hundreds of billions of dollars of Treasury and corporate bonds.
Since the early part of March 2020 to date, the Federal Reserve has added over $4 trillion to its holdings.
In particular, whereas on or about February 24, 2020, the holdings of the Federal Reserve stood at $4.2 trillion, on or about January 17, 2022, the holdings of the Federal Reserve stood at about $8.9 trillion.
As well, the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates low.
Recently, Jerome Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve, said that he wasn’t concerned about inflation and that, for the none, the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates at low levels.
Another examples is that of the Bank of Japan.
According to Fred Economic Data, as of October 2021, the Bank of Japan’s holdings were about $6.4 trillion or about 725 trillion Yen.
In the early part of March 2020, the Bank of Japan’s holdings were $5.3 holdings. During the period mentioned, the Bank of Japan added over one trillion dollars to its holdings.
For its part, the European Central Bank followed similar policies.
A number of corporations have been borrowing money inexpensively and have been purchasing their own shares of stocks, increasing share prices of stocks.
Still, there are concerns among investors.
A number of them have expressed concerns about central banks’ eventually increasing interest rates, as, during the past year, inflation levels have been increasing.
The combination of low interest rates, expansive monetary policies, fiscal stimulus programs, which themselves have infused trillions into the US economy, and shortages of goods and services caused by virus-related restrictions and lockdowns has increased levels of inflation.
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Investors also have worried, for example, about announcements that were made by companies like Toyota and VW; months ago, those companies announced that because of shortages of particular types of material, they would be reducing levels of production.
Months ago, the results of a survey of UK manufacturers were released.
That survey indicated that many businesses in the UK were concerned about shortages of supplies.
In general, jobs and businesses have been lost by way of mandates, restrictions and quarantines, which, in their turn, were imposed by way of the virus narrative.
In the US, overall, the mortality rate of the virus is about .069%, according to Statista, an award-winning service.
The recovery rate is over 99% for most age groups.
What has followed in the wake of lockdowns and mandates has been the infusion of trillions of dollars into the US economy, the increasing succeess of online businesses like Amazon and other large online retailers, various bank and tech-related stocks, the shuttering of small to medium-sized businesses and the loss of millions of jobs.
Another result has been the increasing levels of inflation, especially those of food and fuel.
In official terms, for purposes of reporting, the US Labor Department uses what is called “core inflation”.
Core inflation excludes items like food and fuel, as those are deemed too volatile.