Tory Party chairman: 'I've never bought a tin of baked beans in my life'

·3 min read
Chairman of the Conservative Party Oliver Dowden in Downing Street, London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is today expected to receive Sue Gray's inquiry into allegations of lockdown-breaking parties held in Downing Street. The senior civil servant is understood to be preparing to hand over her long-awaited report to No 10 after working to pare it back following a request from the Metropolitan Police. Picture date: Monday January 31, 2022. See PA story POLITICS Johnson. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Oliver Dowden has admitted he's never bought a tin of beaked beans(PA)

A senior member of the Conservative party has said he's never bought a tin of baked beans 'in his entire life' while being quizzed on the cost of supermarket own-brand goods.

Oliver Dowden, the co-chairman of the Conservative Party, was talking about the cost of living crisis, which is causing Britons to feel the pinch at the tills as everyday food items and fuel rise in cost.

After being asked about what the cost of a tin of baked beans, Dowden - who has two children - told LBC: "I'm afraid I rarely get the opportunity to go to the shops, given my extensive duties as chairman of the Conservative Party, but when I pop down to my local Tesco's, of course I buy own-brand products.

"I wouldn't know the price of a tin of baked beans - I'll tell you why, I have never liked baked beans. I've never purchased a tin of baked beans in my entire life."

He got the price of a pint of milk about right, guessing at "around 50p".

Read more: Cost of living warning for hundreds of thousands of middle-income families

The food items that have gone up in price the most in the last year (Yahoo News UK/Flourish/ONS)
The food items that have gone up in price the most in the last year (Yahoo News UK/Flourish/ONS)

The questions come after Environment Secretary George Eustice was criticised for suggesting consumers should swap to value brands as the cost of living continues to bite.

Asked about the problem ,Eustice told Sky news: "Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some of the value brands rather than own-branded products - they can actually contain and manage their household budget.

"It (inflation) will undoubtedly put a pressure on household budgets and, of course, it comes on top of those high gas prices as well."

His comments drew criticism from the Labour party.

Shadow Treasury chief secretary Pat McFadden said: "This is woefully out of touch from a Government with no solution to the cost-of-living crisis facing working people."

Oliver Dowden seen after being interviewed on Sophie Raworth's
Oliver Dowden seen after being interviewed on Sophie Raworth's "Sunday Morning" at BBC Broadcasting House in London last month. (Getty)

Which food items are going up in price the most?

ONS figures show that some staple food products have seen huge price rises in the past year.

Margarine has seen the biggest spike, with prices rising by 34.8% in the year to March 2022.

Oil, not including olive oil, increased in price by 18.1%, and lamb and goat prices rose by 16.9%.

Bread has gone in up price by 5.2%, and whole milk is 7.4% more expensive than a year ago.

Food and Drink Federation chief executive Karen Betts warned that prices are “likely to continue to climb in the months to come”.

She said: “Food and drink manufacturers are doing all they can to absorb rises in their ingredient, raw material and energy costs.

"But businesses must also remain viable and the reality of current inflation means that some price increases are having to be passed on.”

Inflation is at its highest levels for 30 years. (Yahoo News UK)
Inflation is at its highest levels for 30 years. (Yahoo News UK)

The UK is currently battling a spiralling cost of living crisis, with the Bank of England (BoE) warning that inflation is set to hit 10% later this year.

The BoE raised UK interest rates to 1%, the highest level in 13 years, as it battles to keep a lid on soaring prices, sparking warnings of a "hangover of household debt problems" by a debt charity.

The rise brings interest rates to their highest level since February 2009, when they were hiked during the recession.

Inflation hit a fresh 30-year high of 7% in the year to March on the back of soaring energy, fuel and food prices, well above the Bank’s 2% target.