RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS: Slow inflation by slashing broadband cost

Want to slow your personal rate of inflation? Slash the cost of broadband, says RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS

A tin of Heinz Baked Beans costs £1.80?! How much?! When shopping in my local Co-op last week, I had to do a double take.

I love baked beans. (Ideally poured over a couple of potato waffles, with a bit of grated cheese and a lot of black pepper.) 

But they seem to have turned from a cupboard staple to an expensive luxury in recent months.

Economic forecasters were caught out last week when the latest official figures showed that inflation is still on the rise. Most had predicted it would fall. But, I’m sure many of us shoppers are not surprised in the least. Every week we see new price rises. Budgets are squeezed ever tighter.

Worse, the latest round of price hikes are not on nice-to-have items. They’re on essentials: food, drink, clothes, heating, council tax.

Cost of keeping in touch: Next month, the broadband and telecom giants are pushing up their prices for millions of people – many by as much as 17 per cent

We can’t simply keep our costs down by reining in our spending. Sure, we can buy cheaper groceries, turn the heating down a little and cut back on any remaining luxuries – if we’ve not done so already. 

But, ultimately we still need to eat, stay warm and pay our taxes.

So how, then, do we deal with inflation?

Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey shared his own controversial suggestion on Friday.

He pleaded with firms who set prices to think twice before putting them up too steeply.

‘I would say to people who are setting prices – please understand, if we get inflation embedded, interest rates will have to go up further and higher inflation really benefits nobody,’ he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

His comments prompted an outcry. Most firms are loath to pass on extra costs to their customers and take a hit to their margins before doing so. Many that do raise prices do it just to stay afloat.

Perhaps if some individual companies take heed of Bailey’s words, it might have a slight impact on inflation.

But, I know what would really make a difference.

Next month, the broadband and telecom giants are pushing up their prices for millions of people – many by as much as 17 per cent.

How much could you save on broadband? 

Broadband and TV deals are something that people rarely switch but which still offer the opportunity to save hundreds of pounds a year.

Check the best deals in your postcode, with our broadband dealfinder powered by Broadband Choices.

> Compare broadband and save money on yours  

This will gouge a huge chunk out of the budgets of most households. 

Everyone from the richest to the poorest will be affected as broadband and phone access is now an essential of everyday life.

The Mail on Sunday has been calling for these providers to rein in their above-inflation, mid-contract price hikes.

We believe they are unfair on cash-strapped households who don’t know when they sign up to a contract how much they’ll be paying by the end of it.

Today we plead again. Not only would a bit of restraint help households. It would also support Bailey’s efforts to keep inflation under control.

Most contracts have above-inflation price rises baked into them. BT, EE and Plusnet are increasing bills by 14.4 per cent, O2 and Virgin Mobile by 17.3 per cent on airtime, and TalkTalk and Virgin Media by 13.8 per cent on average. Then, this time next year, they’ll increase all over again.

It’s time to stop this spiral.

Meanwhile, I’m switching to own-brand baked beans. Any recommendations?

Award for Jeff Prestridge

Prize guy: Jeff Prestridge

Prize guy: Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge, Group Wealth and Personal Finance Editor, was last week praised for his journalism at an awards ceremony in London, marking excellence in protection insurance. 

The awards were organised by insurance broker LifeSearch.

Jeff won the Nick Crossman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Protection Journalism. 

Lifesearch said: ‘Our industry needs brave journalism to shine a light when we do good, and to challenge us when we don’t.’ 

Tom Baigrie, LifeSearch chair, said a ‘phone call from Jeff still puts the fear of God into us’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk