Consumer squeeze ‘worse than I have ever known’ says ex CBI boss and Cobra Beer chair

Lord Karan Bilimora

Consumers are being squeezed by “worse than I have ever known,” the former chief of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the founder of Cobra Beer has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up to Money programme, Lord Karan Bilimora was asked about the impact of industrial action this month – with workers from sectors ranging from telecoms to public transport set to walk out.

The businessman dubbed strikes as “very damaging” for everyone and said they “should be an absolute last measure”.

He noted that consumers were currently “being squeezed so badly, worse than I have ever known in my three decade business career.”

Cost of living costs have risen exponentially in recent months while wages have not increased at the pace of inflation.

Bilimoria warned of the risk of a wage price spiral and said there was a worry that the government could create more inflation with its measures.

“In a classic environment, yes, you would [further fuel inflation. In today’s environment, demand is being squeezed because consumers are being squeezed.”

He said many of the factors driving inflation were out of the UK government’s control, pointing to the war in Ukraine and high global energy prices.