Social Justice

This cost of living calculator shows how different cities in the UK are being hit by inflation

Levelling up? This cost of living calculator shows how different cities in the UK are being impacted by inflation, with the north hit hardest

inflation/ cost of living calculator

Blackpool is said to have the second highest rate of inflation in the country, according to a survey by Centre for Cities. Image: michaeldbeckwith.com

This cost of living calculator shows there is a deepening regional inequality in the UK, with cities in the north facing higher inflation rates than those in the south. 

Updated each month by the Centre for Cities, the tracker compares inflation rates in major cities and towns across the UK.

Prices rose by 10.1 per cent on average in the year up to January 2023. Inflation remains at a 40-year high, and millions of people are struggling to afford food and energy bills. 

But the cost of living calculator shows some areas in the UK are facing more acute suffering. There is a clear north and south divide, with Burnley, Blackpool and Bradford the three areas with the highest inflation rates in England.

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Burnley has an inflation rate of 12.4 per cent, and Blackpool and Bradford are both at 11.4 per cent. Glasgow and Dundee are also badly affected, with inflation rates of 11.4 and 11.3 per cent respectively. 

Meanwhile, London and Cambridge are seeing inflation at 9.3 per cent each – meaning Burnley’s rate is a third (33 per cent) higher.

The cost of living comparison calculator also shows how much wages have fallen in real terms across the country. Wages have fallen the most in Oxford, by 7 per cent. This is followed by Burnley again, where wages have fallen by 6.6 per cent. 

Find out how your area is coping with this cost of living comparison calculator

Inflation is hitting the poorest households the hardest. This is because the costs of essentials are soaring at higher rates, and low-income families typically spend a greater proportion of their income on these items.

Energy, food, and drink tends to reflect a greater proportion of low-income households’ spending, with around 15.2 per cent of total expenditure on these categories for low-income groups and 10.4 per cent for high-income groups.

Food was the highest driver of inflation in the year up to January 2023, with inflation at a 45-year high of 16.7 per cent. 

This is having a detrimental impact on deprived areas in the UK. More than one in three children (34 per cent) in the north of England are living in poverty, according to recent research from the APPG Child of the North.

The Centre for Cities is calling on the government to do more to tackle the divide between the north and south. 

Published in February 2022, the government’s Levelling Up White Paper pledged to tackle regional inequalities through improving jobs, skills, and health prospects. But the charity argues there has been “next to no policy action”. 

Andrew Carter, the chief executive, said: “The government must address its lack of action on levelling up so far and act swiftly to create more opportunities to get people back into the labour force.

“This will require implementing an agenda that delivers much-needed investments in skills and public services, while supporting job creation in struggling places.”

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