Trade bodies have expressed concern over the inflation figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday (19 April), which showed food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation in excess of 19%.

While CPI dropped to January’s figures in March – to 10.1% from February’s 10.4% - food prices accelerated at their fastest rate in 45 years at 19.1% in March, up from 18% in February.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It’s becoming increasingly concerning that we’re not seeing inflation decrease as quickly as many hoped, particularly when business costs are experiencing inflation far higher than the 10.1% released by the Office for National Statistics today.

“We saw just last week that food service price inflation remains over 20% and new research shows that the price pubs paid for food rose three times quicker than their menu prices.

“Hospitality businesses are doing all they can to shield consumers from price rises, which means they’ve absorbed as much cost as they can, but that is becoming unsustainable for many.

“Our sector can help the Government achieve its aims of halving inflation if it is given a helping hand by the Government to ease recruitment challenges and energy suppliers are reigned in so energy costs are able to fall. I would strongly urge it to do so and harness the power of hospitality to create employment and economic growth, and reduce inflation.”

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has said the figures show no end to the crisis in sight, with many night time economy businesses continuing to struggle for survival.

Michael Kill, CEO, NTIA, said: “Inflation remains above 10%, slowing from 10.4% in February to 10.1% but feedback from members businesses is that we trading conditions have not eased, and many are struggling to survive over the next few months.

“There is no consideration for the immediate issues faced by the sector, with a willingness or an acceptance that a proportion of businesses will fail, as collateral damage due to the crisis.

“This is not something we can accept, and we continue to pressure Government on the immediate issue of untenable operating costs, and in particular the devastating impact of Energy costs across the sector.

“It is important that the Government consider immediate measures to secure businesses at the sharpest end of the crisis.”