UK Minister Tells Shoppers to Beat Sanctions-Linked Inflation by Buying 'Value Brands'

© XinhuaA staff member transfers cases of drinks at the distribution center of a supermarket in Zhangjiajie, central China's Hunan Province, Aug. 5, 2021
A staff member transfers cases of drinks at the distribution center of a supermarket in Zhangjiajie, central China's Hunan Province, Aug. 5, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.05.2022
Consumer price index (CPI) inflation hit 7 percent in the UK in March, while sanctions on Russian oil and gas imports have seen household energy and petrol pump prices soar by around half — with a knock-on effect on food production costs and retail prices.
Britain's environment minister has drawn fire after saying shoppers can avoid rampant inflation promoted by sanctions on Russia by switching to "value brands".
George Eustice was condemned as "out of touch" and living in a "parallel universe" by opposition parties for his response to news that supermarket shelf prices had risen by 2.7 percent in the last 12 months.
UK food market (File photo). - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.05.2022
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The Cabinet minister told Sky News that it would "undoubtedly put a pressure on household budgets" already struggling to deal with gas and electricity price hikes of around 50 per cent and similar rises at service station pumps.

"Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some of the value brands rather than own-branded products - they can actually contain and manage their household budget", Eustice said.

Labour's shadow chief treasury secretary, Pat McFadden, and the Liberal Democrat's work and pensions spokeswoman, Wendy Chamberlain, laid into the Conservative minister a day before local government elections.

"This is woefully out of touch from a government with no solution to the cost of living crisis facing working people", McFadden said. "People are seeing their wages fall, fuel and food costs rise, and families are worried about how to make ends meet".

Chamberlain said the Tories were "living in a parallel universe", adding: "Families and pensioners who can't afford their weekly shop need more help, not patronising advice from a clueless minister".
The UK government has announced an eventual halt to Russian gas and oil imports and embargoed the country's banks over Moscow's special military operation in the Ukraine. But imports continue to flow for now and the ban on transactions with Russian national energy firm Gazprom's own bank has been temporarily lifted to allow other Western European countries to pay for their gas imports in rubles.
British hydrocarbon giant BP is in the process of disinvesting from a lucrative project with Russia's Rosneft, while Shell — also based in the UK — has announced it will no longer buy Russian oil.
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