Enfield households £88m worse-off this year thanks to rising food prices

Council leader slams Tory government for not doing more to help households cope with soaring inflation

Supermarket shopping
credit Tara Clark via Unsplash

The leader of Enfield Council has called on the government to do more to halt rising food prices after the Labour group highlighted that borough households are going to be tens of millions out of pocket this year.

With the annual family food bill having risen by an average of £700, Enfield’s 126,000 households will collectively spend an estimated £88.2m more on their grocery shopping this year.

The 20% annual rise in food prices is the highest for 45 years and, combined with an escalating housing crisis that has left 200 homeless Enfield families living in hotels, has led to spiraling demand for local foodbanks – as reported by the Dispatch this month.

Enfield Council leader Nesil Caliskan has blamed the Conservative government for the situation and claims a future Labour government would use a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to enable all local authorities to freeze council tax.

Council tax rose by 5% for Enfield households this year, after being voted through by Labour councillors.

Cllr Caliskan said: “Under the Conservatives we are suffering the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation and it’s getting worse by the day. Yet instead of offering families the support they need the Tories are giving a £1bn tax cut to the richest people in the country.”

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The council leader added that the Labour administration at Enfield Civic Centre is “helping people through the cost-of-living crisis” with its council tax support scheme. She said: “Almost one third of households in the borough benefit from a discount on their council tax bill thanks to Enfield Labour’s council tax support scheme – 14,000 households, including 5,200 pensioners, pay no council tax at all – saving them £1,516 every year.”

The 2023/24 council budget voted through by Labour councillors this year included a reduction in council tax support for approximately 6,500 working households in the borough, by an average of £220 per annum, or £4.23 a week, a move slammed as “sickening” by Conservative group leader Alessandro Georgiou.

Cllr Caliskan added: “We are maintaining our £2.3m offer of emergency grants for residents in-need of crisis support. And we’ve invested in our debt welfare team which in January alone helped 440 people with their finances.”

As part of the government’s efforts to tackle rising food prices, John Glen, the chief secretary to the Treasury, spoke to supermarket representatives last week. A Treasury spokesperson said: “The chief secretary to the Treasury listened to the views of the sector about the drivers of food inflation and agreed that industry will continue to engage with senior government ministers on the matter and its impact on consumers.

“The government understands the concern among the British public about the current level of food prices and their impact on household budgets, which is why halving inflation this year is a top priority.

“To support households with the impact of rising prices, we are delivering one of the most generous cost-of-living packages in Europe – worth £3,300 per household on average over this year and last. This includes targeted support for the most vulnerable worth £900 for people on means-tested benefits, support with energy bills and uprating benefits by over 10%.”

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