Budget cooking blogger Jack Monroe has laid bare the brutal and “infuriating” reality of Britain’s cost of living crisis.

Prices in Britain rose at their fastest pace in 30 years in December, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday (19 January).

Energy bills, grocery expenses, household goods, motor fuel costs and even furniture prices have swollen at a daunting rate, capturing the stress households up and down the nation are facing, the statistics agency said.

The Bank of England has warned people to brace for further cost of living squeezes with inflation still months away from its expected peak.

In a rattling Twitter thread Thursday seen by millions of users, Monroe has shown just how much the creeping prices have already gutted families.

“Woke up this morning to the radio talking about the cost of loving rise a further five per cent,” she wrote, referring to the Consumer Price Index.

The index, watched closely by policymakers and pundits as a measure of inflation, rose by 4.8 per cent in the last 12 months in December, the ONS said.

It’s calculated by tracking the costs of a basket of goods and services over a period of time.

“It infuriates me the index that they use for this calculation, which grossly underestimates the real cost of inflation as it happens to people with the least,” Monroe continued.

This time last year, the cheapest pasta in my local supermarket (one of the Big Four), was 29p for 500g. Today it’s 70p. That’s a 141% price increase as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable households.

— jack monroe (@BootstrapCook) January 19, 2022

Jack Monroe: The government is ‘ignoring the reality’ of the cost of living crisis 

Jack Monroe, one of Britain’s most recognisable and beloved voices on anti-poverty, regularly writes cooking blog posts based on her experience as a single, low-income parent.

When Monroe started writing her recipe weblog a decade ago, she recalled, she was able to feed herself and her son on £10 a week.

Now that would be more or less impossible.

“This time last year,” she tweeted, “the cheapest pasta in my local supermarket was 29p for 500g. Today it’s 70p. That’s a 141 per cent price increase as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable households.

“This time last year, the cheapest rice at the same supermarket was 45p for a kilogram bag. Today, it’s £1 for 500g That’s a 344 per cent price increase as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable.”

Mushrooms, she added, were once 59p for 400g. Now a bag of 250g of mushrooms costs customers 57p – a shifty retail workaround known as “shrinkflation”.

Mushrooms were 59p for 400g. They’re now 57p for 250g. A price increase of 56%. (This practise, of making products smaller while keeping them the same price, is known in the retail industry as ‘shrinkflation’ and its insidious as hell because it’s harder to immediately spot.)

— jack monroe (@BootstrapCook) January 19, 2022

Nearly all supermarket and grocer mainstays – canned spaghetti, curry sauce, bags of apples and peanut butter tubs – have seen a rapid price gain, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the economy’s future.

With inflation far outstripping wage growth, a separate report from the ONS showed, higher food prices, rising energy bills and tax hikes are all clashing to create a dizzying and frustrating chokehold on household budgets.

This problem has only been worsened by problems with supply chains and labour markets as the economy was frozen and thawed throughout the last two years.

As Monroe sought to stress, the reality of inflation is far more than graph charts and numbers.

The pandemic and the haunting effect of austerity under Conservative rule has prompted a spike in food bank usage – the Trussell Trust delivered more than 2.5 million three-day emergency food parcels between 2020-2021.

“The system by which we measure the impact of inflation is fundamentally flawed – it completely ignores the reality and the REAL price rises for people on minimum wages, zero-hour contracts, food bank clients, and millions more,” Monroe fumed.

This can’t go on, Monroe said. The media and the government do not understand what record-high inflation actually means for regular people – the “bubble”, she said, must be burst.

I mean of all the things, the Prime Minister claiming that he’s cutting the cost of living while the price of basic food products shoot up by THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY FOUR PERCENT is the one I’m properly angry enough to riot over.

— jack monroe (@BootstrapCook) January 19, 2022

“I mean, of all the things,” she ended the thread, “the prime minister [Boris Johnson] claiming that he’s cutting the cost of living while the price of basic food products shoot up by THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY PER CENT is the one I’m properly angry enough to riot over.”

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