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Big Food Price Rises Hit Low-Income Families Hard

Big Food Price Rises Hit Low-Income Families Hardest

The latest food price figures, showing an almost 6% increase in the past year, provide convincing evidence that those on low and fixed incomes are suffering the most under this Labour Government, National's Finance spokesman Bill English said today.

In February food prices rose 0.5%, making them 5.7% higher than a year ago. This followed increases of 1.6% in January and 0.7% in December last year.

"This is horrible news for those struggling along on a low or fixed income. The food price index makes up just 18% of the CPI regimen, but it is the most essential and basic area of expenditure for all people.

"Superannuitants, beneficiaries and those on low incomes don't buy cars and major appliances every day. But when food prices go up it really does affect their day-to-day spending power.

"What makes it worse is that healthy foods have risen in price the most. Fruit and vegetables went up 4% in February, meat fish and poultry rose 0.7% in that single month. By contrast soft drinks and confectionery fell in price by 0.5%. It doesn't take a dietician to figure out that many of those on low and fixed incomes will end up sacrificing healthy nutritious food in order to make ends meet.

"These latest figures reflect the impact of the low exchange rate. Things like meat are fetching a better price overseas, which means the domestic prices have to rise to compete for those goods.

"Inflationary pressures are persisting and the people who Labour promised to help the most are, in reality, suffering the most," Bill English said.


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