Greggs, Next and Pret in new wave of price hikes as cost of living crisis grips UK

Marmite maker Unilever has already announced rises on products as it faces a £3billion jump in costs, while Greggs, Next and Pret-a-Manger have also hiked prices

Greggs has raised its prices by between 5p and 10p.
Greggs has raised its prices by between 5p and 10p.

Struggling families hammered by the cost of living crisis face a second wave of crippling rises as firms start to pass on the soaring price of goods to customers.

Greggs, Next and Pret-a-Manger became the latest to either hike prices or warn it was on the way.

Other retailers are expected to follow suit. Marmite maker Unilever has already announced rises on products as it faces a £3billion jump in costs.

And drivers are being battered at the pumps with diesel now at a record high of 151.21p per liter. Petrol is 147.67pa litre, moving to within 0.05p of its November record.

Households have already been hit by soaring energy and food prices, along with stagnating wages, a looming rise in National Insurance payments and cuts to Universal Credit.

But while millions face stark choices between heating and eating, Shell boss Ben van Beurden pocketed nearly £4million after selling a chunk of 190,000 shares. Just days ago, the oil giant posted annual profits of £14billion.

Diesel is now at a record high



Calls last night grew for North Sea oil and gas producers to be hit with a windfall tax to help households.

It comes as protests against the stiff cost of living were due to take place across the UK today.

Resolution Foundation think-tank senior economist Jack Leslie said: “Consumers are feeling the impact of rising prices in the goods they’re buying. But so too are the companies that produce those goods.

“These firms are going to continue to pass through their extra costs to consumers, meaning inflation is not about to disappear and Britain faces a prolonged cost of living crunch.”

People’s Assembly national secretary Laura Pidcock told how today’s protests demonstrate the level of fury at the inequalities as families struggle while fat cats continue to get richer.

Mr van Beurden, 63, has earned £70million in seven years as Shell’s chief executive. He is believed to be selling his £5.2million house in Holland.

Ms Pidcock said: “There is real anger at this crisis. Working people could not be working harder yet life is getting much more difficult.

Pret has bumped its prices



“People can see clearer than ever the inequality in our society… that while there are companies making massive profits and the richest individuals are getting so much richer, everybody else is having to suffer, making difficult decisions to get by.”

GMB national secretary Andy Prendergast added: “To see energy fatcats trouser fortunes while hitting working people with bills so high they can’t turn the heating on is sickening.

“ NHS workers, carers, shop staff and millions of others are set to be trapped in fuel poverty, while Mr Van Beurden pockets enough to heat thousands of homes for a year.”

Tessa Khan, founder of campaign group Uplift, said: “Families are struggling right now to heat their homes and businesses to survive because of companies like Shell profiteering from high gas prices.” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady added: “Working families need financial security.

“But millions are facing a perfect cost of living storm.

“Soaring prices are hammering household budgets at the same time as real wages are falling.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics next week will show how much costs firms will pass on. In December, when inflation hit a near-30 year high of 5.4%, “core” costs for companies increased by 8.7%.

Capital Economics chief UK economist Paul Dales said: “It’s no secret that inflation is going to rise even further.”

Greggs has raised its prices by between 5p and 10p. Next warned customers prices could rise by up to 6% this year.

Pret has increased the price of its coffee subscription offer from £20 to £25 a month, blaming higher milk, bean and wage costs.

Tesco chairman John Allan this week warned food inflation could reach 5%.

A jump in oil prices to more than $90 a barrel, from below $20 at the start of the pandemic, is now feeding through to drivers.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “With the price of oil now at a level not seen in more than seven years and a cost of living crisis mounting, we’re on a knife-edge when it comes to pumps.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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