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The big squeeze

Even before this week’s rise in inflation it has seemed like prices have been going up everywhere. Only this week we heard that British Gas customers will soon be paying £97 a year more, and Sky will be adding £72 a year to their customers’ bills. And while there has been a general hard-to-quantify feeling that the weekly shop is getting a little bit more expensive, the lack of special offers in the booze aisle means the domestic bar bill certainly is.

This week’s inflation figures would appear to confirm the latter suspicions, and debunk the former – within the 0.7 per cent January ‘jump’ alcohol prices did indeed rise, while food prices slipped marginally. The biggest single contributor accounting for half of the increase was the recreation and culture basket, accounting for almost half of the rise – given that sporting events, theatres and cinemas remain shut, one can only assume that the increase has been driven by stay-at-home entertainment. And that’s even before Netflix puts the price of its top package up to £13.99 a month, a whopping 17 per cent increase.

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