According to a supermarket Boss, starving people accessing food banks are forced to leave root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes behind because they can’t afford to boil them. Food bank users were turning down potatoes and root vegetables, according to Richard Walker, because they couldn’t afford the energy to boil them.
Iceland’s managing director told BBC Radio 4’s Today that the Chancellor’s focus on the customer in his spring statement on Wednesday would be appropriate.
He said: “I think the cost-of-living crisis is the single most important domestic issue that we’re facing as a country and it is incredibly concerning.
“You know, we’re hearing about some food bank users declining potatoes and root veg because they can’t afford the energy to boil them.”
But he added that business was “not an endless sponge that can soak it all up”.
Mr Walker proposed that energy price limitations for consumers could be extended to businesses, with the cost covered by a windfall tax, a reduction in VAT, or even the suspension of green levies.
Mr Walker also added to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that his stores were “in the poorest communities around the UK, so our customers are depending on us for that value”.
“The pressure is relentless and it’s coming at us from all angles at the moment.”
Mr Walker claimed that prices had risen in the supply chain as a result of labour shortages and rising transportation charges.
Meanwhile, Russia’s fertiliser shortages and Ukraine’s sunflower oil shortages were both factors.
He said: “And then finally we have operational cost pressures as well in the running of our shops.
“National minimum wage will increase our cost base by 20 million quid. We have green taxation of £16 million next year, and we have, of course, electricity bills which are going to rise many times over, and that will disproportionately affect bricks and mortar retailers, such as ourselves.