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UK inflation hits 30-year high of 5.5% as cost of living squeeze tightens

Inflation is causing particular pain for families who rely on food banks, as the prices of essential items has jumped.

My colleague Zoe Wood reports:

With its colourful beach huts and quaint high street, Whitstable is a tourist mecca in the school holidays. But the pile of shopping bags in the Canterbury and District food bank tells a different story about real life in the picturesque Kent seaside town.

The nearly 200 bags, with extra treats such as leftover chocolate advent calendars poking out, are ready to hand out at 22 local schools before half-term as, amid a worsening cost of living crisis, they know some children might go hungry without school dinners.

But soaring inflation is not just hurting the finances of local residents, it is having a dramatic impact on those of the food bank. Demand for its food parcels is at a record high and it has gone from spending nothing on groceries to £3,000 a month to cover the shortfall in donations.

The food bank’s shopping basket provides a proxy for that experience.