THE former CEO of Sainsbury’s has been clear about what initially caused the cost of living crisis – telling Sky News that Brexit is to blame.

Justin King, who has also been director of food at Marks and Spencer and involved with both Mars and Pepsi-Cola, appeared on the news broadcaster on Monday to discuss the worsening cost of living crisis.

It comes as people living in the UK face the biggest drop in living standards in decades.

Inflation could reach up to 10% by the end of the year, energy bill increases are hitting consumers hard and other daily expenditure is not immune either - with council tax and transport costs on the up too.

The National:

In last week’s Queen’s Speech (above), the UK Government announced no new measures to support those suffering most from the cost-of-living crisis.

Johnson argued the price rises are being seen around the world, saying in a written introduction to the legislative agenda: “No country is immune and no government can realistically shield everyone from the impact.”

Asked on Sky News what is causing food prices to go up so quickly, businessman King told viewers: "I mean the current pressures started with Brexit.

"You're talking about the Prime Minister going to Northern Ireland today, the problems at the border in the Irish Sea, of course, are the reality in good part in the border with many of our trading partners.

"Well in excess of 40% of our food comes from Europe, so it started with Brexit.”

He added that Covid had made the situation worse, while the war in Ukraine is also having an impact on certain items.

“One can obviously see that that will be long lasting and significant in its impact,” he went on.

Meanwhile on Sky on Monday morning, a Government minister said people struggling during the cost-of-living crisis should consider taking on more hours at work or moving to a better-paid job.

Rachel Maclean, safeguarding minister in the Home Office, admitted the idea would not work for all households, but said the solution for some people could be to look for additional work.

The National:

The comments come against a backdrop of soaring inflation, rising energy bills and high prices at the petrol pumps.

Maclean (above) told Sky News: “I think what we need to focus on now is over the long-term.

“We do have these short-term pressures on us that we’re all aware of.

“But over the long-term we need to have a plan to grow the economy and make sure that people are able to protect themselves better, whether that is by taking on more hours or moving to a better-paid job.

“These are long-term actions but that is what we are focused on as a Government.”

Maclean said she was not “suggesting for one moment” that such an option would work for everyone.

But she said those with extra capacity could visit job centres to apply for either more hours or better rewarded employment.