Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
18 May 2022

Inflation is hitting the poorest hardest

The poorest face an inflation rate three percentage points higher than the richest 10 per cent.

By Aisha Majid

UK inflation hit a 40-year high of 9 per cent in the year to April, new Consumer Price Index figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal. But analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that the poorest households are being hit even harder. According to its calculations, inflation for the poorest decile of households is 10.9 per cent – three percentage points higher than inflation for the wealthiest decile (7.9 per cent). 


The disparity is down to the fact that lower income households spend more of their family budget on electricity and gas, which have soared in cost. In April, the energy price cap increased by £693 for the typical family – a rise of over 50 per cent.

Also contributing to the UK’s record levels of inflation are rising prices of food, which are up by 6.7 per cent, and durable goods (up 8.5 per cent). 

The Resolution Foundation, a living standards think tank, has said that while all households will feel the effects of rising costs, the poorest households should be prioritised for support. It has called for an increase in benefits such as Universal Credit and more support for the poorest households to help them pay their energy bills. 

Last month, the government announced a 3.1 per cent rise in benefits in line with inflation from last September. But such is the surge in prices that the real value of support to the poorest households has dramatically fallen.

[See also: Five ways the government failed to shield the UK from inflation]

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.