SOUTH Cumbria MPs reacted to further cost of living misery as inflation hit its highest level in 41 years. 

October's rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation was worse than expected, hitting the highest rate since October 1981 and up from 10.1 per cent in September. 

The leap follows a 130 per cent surge in gas prices over the past year, with electricity rising by around 66 per cent, while food inflation hit a record high of 16.5 per cent according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

Suzanne Caldwell, the chair of the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce said: "Many people will be forced to cut back on their normal Christmas because they just don’t have the money full stop, others will be weighing up priorities."

The Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness Simon Fell said: "This rise is driven by the pressures being caused by Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine - driving up the cost of food and fuel. Bearing down on inflation is the number one priority, and that will be the focus of the financial statement in the House.

"Locally, my team and I are working very closely with local support organisations and have just published a free cost-of-living guide to support people who need it. If anyone needs assistance, I'd ask them to come forward - we stand ready to help and intervene."

The South Lakes Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said that the 'priority has to be state pension' and wrote to chancellor Jeremy Hunt to ensure that benefits and the state pension will rise in line with inflation in Thursday's budget. 

He also said: "If you suddenly find out your pay packet has halved what it was six months ago, that is hard to keep up with. 

"The budget has to be mindful about the increase on people. They must not now compound the problem by making more cuts. They must not go from recklessness to panic."

He said that most people using food banks and social services are 'hard-working' and they have had their pay undercut by inflation. 

Mr Farron said that support would be provided through the warm spaces scheme and food banks. In Parliament, he would push the Government to make 'wise decisions' on pensions.