Cost of living: Minister ‘somewhat surprised’ at Bank of England’s ‘apocalyptic’ food price warning | Politics News

A Cabinet minister has said he was “somewhat surprised” to hear the Bank of England warn of “apocalyptic” food price rises.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis was quizzed by Sky News’ Kay Burley on the comments made by BoE governor Andrew Bailey in a select committee appearance on Monday.

Mr Bailey told MPs that rising food prices, at a time when supplies of goods such as wheat and cooking oil are being squeezed due to the war in Ukraine – a major producer – was a factor “that I am going to sound rather apocalyptic about”.

Mr Lewis told Sky News: “I was somewhat surprised to see that particular turn of phrase because obviously we can all see that prices can move… one way or another relatively speedily.

“But we will be doing what we can to put that support in there for people across the country.

“We do recognise there’s a challenge. This is not a straightforward challenge to deal with – it’s a global challenge but it is one that I know the chancellor is very very focused on.

Mr Lewis said the comments from Mr Bailey were “a matter for the Bank of England – they are independent”.

He added: “It’s not for me to comment on what they said other than say, yes, I was surprised to see that kind of terminology there – particularly in light of the fact that obviously food supplies for supermarkets… are ordered and bought a long way in advance.

“So supermarkets are already now placing orders for many many months down the line for certain products and they’re working on today’s prices, and what they’re buying for today is what we will be seeing in the supermarkets in the period ahead.”

The comments come at a time when inflation is at a three-decade high as energy, fuel and food prices soar – and is predicted to climb to more than 10% later this year.

Official figures published on Tuesday showed that wage growth – excluding bonuses – has been failing to keep pace, meaning that a real terms fall in pay is intensifying.

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