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Greed is the latest crisis hitting struggling buyers

At a time when experts are warning energy bills could reach a truly unreal £3,850 a year by January, is it unfair to expect multi-billion dollar corporate beasts books absorb a greater proportion of their cost increases rather than squeeze struggling customers for every possible penny?

The tactic at Unilever seems even more blatant when considering the company’s stance on compensation. Jope won £4.9million last year after clocking a 42 per cent pay rise, but he says it won’t raise staff wages in line with inflation.

Reckitt Benckiser – the company behind Dettol bleach, Nurofen headache tablets and Durex condoms – is doing even better to weather the storm. While the volume of goods sold by Unilever in the last financial quarter fell slightly by 1.6%, its big British rival saw a 12% jump in turnover, despite price increases above the average. inflation of 9.7% over the same period.

At McDonald’s, sales in the second quarter alone were $5.7 billion, a 9.7% jump that beat analysts’ estimates. Operating margins this year are expected to be around 40% and it expects to pay a quarterly dividend of $1.38 per share.

It’s not a struggling company. Yet he freely admits that his clients are. Rising inflation has prompted some low-income consumers to “cut back” on cheaper items, chief financial officer Kevin Ozan told investors.

Consumers accept that even the mighty McDonald’s cannot entirely withstand the forces of runaway global inflation and that higher costs will in part pass through to the tills.

There are also many examples of responsible companies striking the right balance between passing on cost increases and ensuring their products remain affordable.

But unfortunately, in some cases, it appears that some of the world’s biggest companies have spotted an opportunity to use cost spiral hedging to force steep increases they would never get away with during milder times.

A historic moment was when petrol prices in parts of the country hit a record high of £2 a litre. But rather than a case of profiteering on the forecourt, the competition watchdog says it is concerned about the margins of the country’s big oil refineries.

While the average cost of filling a family car has reached £100, refining differentials have tripled in the past year, from 10p to almost 35p a litre, the Competition and Tax Authority has found. markets.