The UK’s annual inflation rate hit a 41-year high of 11.1% last month, according to the Office for National Statistics today, up from 10.1% a month earlier. The sharp rise is driven by higher food and energy prices. Households were paying 90% more for gas, electricity and other fuels than they were a year earlier while food price inflation rose from 14.6% to 16.4% – its highest level since 1977. The rise is hitting poorer households harder, with the gap in the inflation rate between the richest and the poorest at its largest since 2009.
Jeremy Hunt will deliver his autumn statement tomorrow, and the Chancellor has vowed to set out a plan to “get debt falling, deliver stability, and drive down inflation”. He is expected to announce tax rises worth £20bn and spending cuts of £35bn. How will Labour respond? Writing for LabourList this morning, James Murray MP has outlined the “straightforward, fairer choices” that the party would make if it was giving the statement on Thursday. The shadow economic secretary tells readers that the opposition party would be focused on two things: fairer taxation, with a “proper” windfall tax, and economic growth through its green prosperity plan. Read the full piece here.
Expect the economy to be high on the agenda at Prime Minister’s Questions today. Since Rishi Sunak is at the G20 conference in Indonesia, however, Dominic Raab is taking over for the session. He will face off against Angela Rayner. Labour’s deputy leader will likely use the opportunity to bring up the recent bullying allegations made against Raab. Raab has, this morning, requested that the Prime Minister launch an investigation into two formal complaints about his behaviour, one regarding his time as Foreign Secretary and another while he was Justice Secretary.
Last week, Gavin Williamson made Sunak look weak by resigning the night before PMQs – forcing the Prime Minister to insist that the minister’s behaviour had been “unequivocally” unacceptable after having backed him for days. It seems like a scandal a week for the new PM, who had promised to bring stability after the tumultuous reign of his predecessors. First Suella Braverman, then Gavin Williamson, now Dominic Raab – Sunak will no doubt be relieved that he is not facing yet another session of PMQs that simply underlines how empty his pledge to instil integrity ‘at all levels’ of government really is.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.