10-year inflation rise high is a “black eye to the average small business”

Independent retailers are grappling with a surge in UK inflation, which has risen to a near-decade high thanks to the soaring cost of living.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose from 3.1 per cent in September to 4.2 per cent in October – the highest level since December 2011.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the ONS, said the inflation rise was driven by “increased household energy bills due to the price cap hike, a rise in the cost of second-hand cars and fuel as well as higher prices in restaurants and hotels.”

He added: “Costs of goods produced by factories and the price of raw materials have also risen substantially and are now at their highest rates for at least 10 years.”

Dr Jackie Mulligan, expert on the Government’s High Streets Task Force and founder of local shopping platform Shopappy, comments: “The pain that so many small business owners are having to endure just went up several notches and is becoming almost unbearable. Many will need to decide whether to up the prices of their products and services to take the pressure off their own finances, which puts their income and sales at risk, or simply take it on the chin. The fact that this is happening just before Christmas, and with Black Friday already hoovering up a lot of money that could be spent locally, is a black eye to the average small business. It’s brutal out there and more than ever people need to shop local to help small businesses and their local high streets survive.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Rackham, founder of Facebook group NOT ON AMAZON adds: “Out-of-control inflation is causing an existential dilemma for so many small businesses. Do they up their prices to help manage their own living costs, which risks losing sales, or just deal with the pain?”

The Bank of England is likely to increase interest rates in the coming months to try and bring CPI back to its 2 per cent target. It forecasts inflation will reach 4.5 per cent in November and 5 per cent in April.

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