This morning's ONS consumer price inflation hitting seven per cent - the highest in 30 years - underlines the need for emergency Stormont action to help families, SDLP public finance spokesperson Matthew O'Toole has said.
The sharp rise in inflation is not only the highest rate since 1992, it is higher than forecasters - including the Bank of England - expected.
Even more concerning is the sharp rise in the Producer Price Index, which measures the costs manufacturers pay for goods and is now running at over 19 per cent in the year to March. Such increased costs for manufacturers are usually an indicator of further rises for consumers.
The SDLP public finance spokesperson said the deeply worrying data highlights the precariousness of the position many families will be finding themselves in - and the need for the new NI Assembly to prioritise getting out support in the form of a £200 emergency payment.
Matthew O'Toole said:
"These figures are extraordinary, and not in a good way. They highlight how sharp and brutal the rise in prices has become and how much pressure ordinary people are under.
"Because behind this data is real hardship and anxiety. I am seeing it on the doorsteps as people tell of paypackets being eaten up by new costs and their dilemma over heating their homes versus putting food on the table. From working parents to elderly people, this cost of living emergency is hurting people across this society now.
"That is why the SDLP wants to get back into Stormont and get going on an emergency plan of action - starting with £200 into people's pockets immediately to help them pay bills."