Prime Minister Boris Johnson under fire as UK inflation rockets to 40-year high

London, UK Updated: May 19, 2022, 09:23 AM(IST)

File photo of UK PM Boris Johnson. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

UK's finance minister Rishi Sunak insisted the state 'cannot protect people completely'. Meanwhile, 

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire amid a rise in prices as official data showed on Wednesday (May 18) that the inflation rate in the country has surged to a 40-year high on soaring energy costs. 

UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) noted that in the country, inflation jumped to 9 per cent in the 12 months to April, which is up from 7 per cent in March. Notably, April's figure marked the highest inflation rate since 1982. 

The data has caused concerns and sparked calls for an emergency government budget in order to combat a worsening cost-of-living crisis in the country. 

Amid the crisis, the new chief inspector of the constabulary stated that the cost of living crisis will trigger an increase in crime. He advised that the officers should use their "discretion" in case of punishing people who might steal to eat.  

"The impact of poverty, and the impact of lack of opportunity for people, does lead to an increase in crime. There's no two ways about that," Andy Cooke said as quoted by The Guardian. 

"What they've got to bear in mind is what is the best thing for the community, and that individual, in the way they deal with those issues. And I certainly fully support police officers using their discretion – and they need to use discretion more often," he added. 

A global issue? 

Apart from the UK, other economies are also struggling with inflation due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the lifting of coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns. 

These factors have led to a rise in energy and food prices, forcing central banks including the Federal Reserve and Bank of England to hike interest rates. 

Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition labour party slammed the Johnson government and stated that the country's PM is "choosing to let people struggle". 

Starmer said, "Whilst he dithers British households are slapped with an extra 53 million on their energy bills every single day. Meanwhile, every single day North Sea oil and gas giants rake in 32 million in unexpected profits."

"Doesn’t he see that every single day he delays his inevitable U-turn, he’s going to do it, he’s choosing to let people struggle when they don’t need to? Starmer added. 

Amid the looming threat of recession, the main opposition Labour party demanded an emergency budget to help the common people. Labour finance spokeswoman Rachel Reeves said, "Our country faces a cost-of-living crisis and a growth crisis. We need an emergency budget now to tackle the cost of living crisis, and we need a real plan for growth." 

WATCH | Tory MP in police custody: Fresh scandal for Boris government

Sunak blames the situation on 'global challenges'

Meanwhile, finance minister Rishi Sunak insisted the state "cannot protect people completely". Sunak reacted after the alarming figures were released on Wednesday as he blamed the situation on "global challenges". He further noted that Britain was not alone in dealing with rocketing prices. 

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual dinner, Sunak said "we have a collective responsibility to help the most vulnerable" and that "we stand ready to do more". However, he warned "the economic situation is extremely serious. The next few months will be tough". 

(With inputs from agencies)

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