Pubs and restaurants in the UK are facing “terrifying” price rises because of a chronic shortage of workers, industry leaders have said.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the UK Food and Drink Federation, told MPs inflation in the hospitality sector was running at up to 18pc as businesses face soaring wage, energy and commodity costs.
Haulage bosses said it could take a year to recover from the national lorry driver shortage.
Mr Wright told the business, energy and industrial strategy committee: “In hospitality, which is a precursor of retail, inflation is running between 14pc and 18pc.
“That is terrifying. I remember inflation going to 27pc under the Callaghan government in 1977 and I remember a lady going around Sainsbury’s with stickers twice in the same hour to change the prices. We cannot go back to that.”
Rising prices would be passed on to consumers, Mr Wright added.
“If the prime minister is, as I know he is, serious about levelling up, inflation is a bigger scourge than almost anything because it discriminates against the poor,” he said.
The most recent figures show prices across all sectors rose by an average of 3.2pc over the past 12 months. Inflation is expected to exceed 4pc by the end of the year and remain high well into 2022.
The UK’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) has previously warned of a shortage of 100,000 drivers and said the issue had not improved.
Duncan Buchanan, director of policy at the RHA, told the committee: “Things are very challenged at the moment.
“There are widespread shortages of lorry drivers, which are leading to delays. Things are not visibly getting better at this stage.”
(© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2021)
Telegraph Media Group Limited