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  1. Economy
6 January 2022

Exclusive: over three-quarters of British voters notice their food shops are pricier

The cost-of-living crisis bites as polling for the New Statesman by Redfield & Wilton Strategies reveals the overwhelming experience of inflation among Britons.

By Anoosh Chakelian

Three-quarters (76 per cent) of British voters say the cost of goods in their regular food shop has increased over recent months, as revealed by exclusive polling for the New Statesman by Redfield & Wilton Strategies*.

Inflation rose 5.1 per cent in the 12 months to November 2021. Energy bills are set to soar in April, when a new 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance will also hit taxpayers.

[See also: The cost-of-living crisis will define 2022 – Labour needs answers now]

When asked how their financial situation had changed in the last two years, just 13 per cent replied that it had improved, compared with 41 per cent who said it had worsened (44 per cent said nothing had changed, and 2 per cent didn’t know).

The cost-of-living crisis is biting, putting political pressure on the government. A row among Tory MPs is rumbling over Boris Johnson’s reluctance to scrap VAT on energy bills – a promise he made during the EU referendum campaign.

[See also: Exclusive polling shows key opportunity for Labour on the economy]

To add to the Prime Minister’s woes, voters are now associating the economy with their own circumstances (their jobs and shop prices) rather than the need to reduce government debt – the “balancing the books” rhetoric used by successive Conservative governments to justify cuts after the recession.

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Chart by Ben Walker

This is a shift in attitude that should favour the Labour Party, which voters trust more with the cost of living than the Conservatives. Whether Keir Starmer, who has tried again to outline Labour’s vision this week, benefits from this is yet to be seen.

*1,500 eligible voters in Great Britain were polled. Fieldwork was conducted on 8 December 2021.

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