‘But­ter has gone up 40% in price’

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Matthew Holmes

Yvonne Bid­well, care worker, Swindon

I con­sider my­self a savvy shop­per, as I’m on min­i­mum wage. But­ter has gone up 40%, but it’s a lit­tle lux­ury I do not want to give up. Meat has in­creased so much that I rarely buy it and make do with cheap chicken or pork shoul­der – lamb and beef joints are out of the ques­tion. I have changed the way we eat – we have soup a lot for our main meal now – and make do with less, or change meals to use jars of ready­made pasta sauce for 52p and cheap spaghetti for 20p at the end of the month.

Sarah, mar­ket­ing, south London

We don’t eat meat but have no­ticed the cost of but­ter, milk, and other dairy prod­ucts is much higher than it was. But­ter used to be around 80-90p and is now as much as £1.40 for own-brand. A lot of stuff we buy on­line seems to be 50p more than it was, eg smoked mack­erel, a mul­ti­pack of beans, al­co­hol etc. We used to aim to feed four of us for £100 a week in­clud­ing booze and treats, now there’s no way we can get it that low. I don’t know where 3% comes from – it feels more like 20-30% here.

Donal O’Hagan, teacher, Down­patrick, North­ern Ire­land

I would es­ti­mate our weekly shop has in­creased by 30%. We could have man­aged a weekly shop at £60 or there­abouts – it is now eas­ily com­ing in at £80 or above. The ob­vi­ous knock-on ef­fect is ei­ther cut­ting back, higher debt or tak­ing up ex­tra em­ploy­ment if pos­si­ble. It in­creases stress and fam­ily rows and a gen­eral sense of dis­il­lu­sion­ment and a spe­cific type of anger to­wards politi­cians of all hues and also to other groups in so­ci­ety.

Cather­ine, Devon

I started to no­tice huge price in­creases in my on­line shop­ping last year. Take for ex­am­ple Tesco lamb chops. My re­ceipt shows that in De­cem­ber 2016 they were £5 for a 550g pack. By March 2017 that had gone up to £5.50. By July 2017 it was £6 for 550g, so 20% up on the De­cem­ber price. As of the end of Oc­to­ber 550g of lamb chops is £6.50. In nine months the price has risen 30%.

Other prod­ucts that have gone up in cor­re­spond­ing ways in­clude salmon, steak and but­ter. The price of farmed salmon has gone up from £3.50 for two fil­lets in De­cem­ber 2016 to £4.25. My wages have been the same for years now, so I’ve had to make some changes. I buy far less meat, and I’ve vir­tu­ally stopped buy­ing al­co­hol, as it is not es­sen­tial. But the price hikes are brazen and un­prece­dented, and to­tally at odds with the pre­vail­ing at­mos­phere of stag­nated wages and aus­ter­ity that dom­i­nates the life of the av­er­age shop­per.

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