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Minister Says Inflation Hitting 10.1% Is “Not Where We Want It To Be”


3 min read

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the news that inflation hit 10.1 per cent in the 12 months to September “will understandably be of great concern” to the public.

New figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published on Wednesday morning showed that prices are rising at their fastest rate for 40 years, with current inflation figures largely driven by an increase in food prices.

Responding to the news, Cleverly told LBC that the latest inflation figures were “not where we want them to be”. 

“Nudging just over 10 per cent is something which will, understandably, be of great concern to a whole load of people that have mortgages or other kinds of borrowing,” he said.

“Obviously, what we want to do is we want to take action to bring those inflation figures down. 

“But it's worth remembering that many of our international competitors and friends… are already seeing inflation figures considerably higher than that. 

He also defended measures already taken by the government to tackle inflation, claiming that plans to cap energy bills “had a downward pressure on those inflation figures”.

The government is under increased pressure to tackle the economic situation after it was forced to scrap the majority of last month’s mini-Budget in response to market volatility.

Jeremy Hunt, who was appointed Chancellor on Friday, said on Wednesday morning that the government will “prioritise help for the most vulnerable while delivering wider economic stability”.

"We have acted decisively to protect households and businesses from significant rises in their energy bills this winter, with the government’s energy price guarantee holding down peak inflation,” he said in a statement.

But Labour’s Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said that the “damage has been done” by the current government, branding the current figures a sign of a “Tory crisis, made in Downing Street and paid for by working people”.

"The facts speak for themselves. Mortgage costs are soaring. Borrowing costs are up. Living standards down. And we are forecast to have the lowest growth in the G7 over the next two years,” she continued.

"What we need now is to restore financial credibility, and a serious plan for growth that puts working people first. That is what Labour will bring."

Liz Truss will face her first Prime Minister’s Questions today since Hunt announced he was scrapping the majority of his predecessor's mini-Budget.

There are concerns that Truss could soon scrap the state pension triple lock commitment, under which pensions rise by either average earnings, CPI inflation based on September's rate announced today, or 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest.

On Tuesday, her official spokesperson refused to recommit to Truss’s past pledges to keep the triple lock in place, saying the government was not making any commitments on "individual policy areas at this point".

"The Prime Minister is aware of the commitments made in this area and indeed to how many vulnerable pensioners there are," they said.

"The decision she has taken is to prioritise economic stability and it is her view and the Chancellor's view that at this point, it is not right to start pre-empting a collective piece of work which needs to be cared about across government on all spending."

The Chancellor is due to deliver his medium-term fiscal plan on 31 October, which will set out the government’s future plans for spending. 

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