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Analysis

Inflation highest since 2012. Thanks Brexiters!

by Luke Lythgoe | 12.12.2017

Brexit continues to ravage the UK economy and impact people’s lives. Here are five recent examples.

Inflation at almost 6-year high

Consumer price inflation hit 3.1% today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed. It was 0.5% in June last year, the month of the referendum. It hasn’t been this high since March 2012. Going over 3% means the Governor of the Bank of England will have to write a letter to the Chancellor explaining why inflation is more than 1% above his 2% target. Meanwhile, as inflation outstrips wages, ordinary people continue to feel the squeeze.

Christmas dinner 18% more expensive this year

Putting a seasonal spin on Brexit-induced inflation, Good Housekeeping magazine discovered that the UK’s cheapest Christmas dinner (from Lidl) had risen from £19.82 last year to £23.53 this year.

Jobs boom petering out

Since June last year, Brexiters have repeatedly used falling unemployment as proof that the economy is doing fine “despite Brexit”. However, this strong job creation is dropping off, with one survey finding companies more pessimistic about making new hires than at any time in the last five years. The ONS is picking up similar warning signs.

Reliance on EU housebuilders

Meanwhile, the housebuilding sector is worried about worker shortages. One in six housebuilders is an EU citizen, rising to over half in London, according to a survey by the Home Builders Federation. In the capital, skills such as carpentry, demolition and plastering are dominated by EU workers. Recent migration figures suggest EU nationals, especially Eastern Europeans critical to housebuilding, are leaving fast. Who will build the hundreds of thousands of new homes the UK needs?

Social mobility neglected

Inside Whitehall, Brexit seems all-consuming. A dramatic example came this month when Theresa May’s Social Mobility Commission resigned en masse, with its chair saying Brexit was taking up too much bandwidth and he had “little hope” of the government making the progress “necessary to bring about a fairer Britain”. This scuppers May’s promise to build a “country that works for everyone” and threatens to compound the social inequality which drove so many to vote Leave in the first place.

See our previous round-up of the toll Brexit is taking here.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon