Anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe has lashed out at the Daily Telegraph, accusing the newspaper of “gleeful clickbait” after it published an article claiming she was “wrong” about rising food prices.
The Office for National Statistics revealed on Monday that the prices of some budget food items have risen by more than 15 per cent in a year – with pasta becoming 50 per cent more expensive in the year to April.
Household staples like minced beef, bread and rice also recorded significant increases, although the average price of 30 budget food items was still below the rate of inflation.
Speaking to the BBC after the figures were released, Monroe – who has criticised supermarkets for “stealthily” removing value food ranges from their shelves – said: “The figures that are out today will not come as news to anyone who is actually living this because we have all seen the prices of food go up.”
But the Telegraph saw things differently, penning an article headlined: “The charts that prove Jack Monroe was wrong about cheap food prices rising fastest”.
The article claimed that the ONS had “refuted claims” by Monroe “that poor households were suffering a sharper rise in grocery bills after a surge in the cost of budget range items”, and suggested the campaigner had “claimed victory on Twitter”.
Writing on the social media site on Monday afternoon, Monroe called out the newspaper for publishing “a steaming pile of misdirected shit” – and accused it of not paying her for articles she’d written for them two years ago.
Monroe said: “Hi @Telegraph. I’m sure @ONS will be thrilled to see you’re flagrantly & wilfully misrepresenting the data that they worked so hard on. And as someone who ~writes for your paper~ I have to ask, is it standard practise to cannibalise your own writers?
“You could have called for a comment, or asked me to write on this, instead of choosing to publish a steaming pile of misdirected shit, but there you go. Not sure what you gain from this other than gleeful clickbait from my army of detractors, but I’m disappointed yet unsurprised.
“Oh and while I have your attention, can you bloody well pay me for the articles I wrote for you in 2019? Cheers.”
It comes as experts recently warned that the poorest households in the country are bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis.
While inflation hit a 40-year high of 9 per cent in April as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, those who are least well off spend a larger proportion of their income on the basics, such as energy bills.
As a result the Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested that inflation for the poorest households ran at 10.9 per cent in the year to April.
The latest ONS analysis indicates that, at least for the 30 items it chose, inflation for the cheapest alternatives has been running similar to overall food and alcohol prices, increasing by between 6 per cent and 7 per cent.
However, it does not take into account the costs associated with buying a product. For instance potato prices have dropped significantly over the last year, but many struggling households avoid potatoes, because they take longer to boil than alternatives and therefore use more expensive gas.
In March the boss of Iceland said that some food bank users were turning down potatoes and other root vegetables because they could not afford to boil them.