Heads of industries from energy to hospitality have told the business secretary that inflationary pressures exacerbated by the war in Ukraine risk pushing up prices for cash-strapped British households.
Sky News understands Kwasi Kwarteng staged a call with trade association bosses on Tuesday in which he was told their members were facing unprecedented cost pressures.
Sources said among those who attended the virtual meeting were executives representing the building materials, energy, hospitality and retail sectors.
Mr Kwarteng was reportedly warned that supermarkets would not be able to withhold the price of everyday groceries such as bread, with wheat among the staples hit by the Russian invasion of Ukraine , while soaring wholesale gas prices risk sending energy costs for industrial users to record highs, according to a person familiar with the discussion.
Building material costs are also rising, Kwarteng said, according to the person.
The CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce were also on hand.
The business secretary told the House of Commons on Wednesday he was exploring options to “end the 4% gas we’re getting from Russia” following Britain’s decision to join the United States in ban oil imports from the country.
Boris Johnson is should confirm details of a new energy independence strategy next week, with reports suggesting the Prime Minister will reopen the door to fracking and issue a new round of North Sea exploration licenses.
Soaring gas prices have exposed taxpayers to a sharp increase in the cost of financing operations for Bulb, the energy provider that collapsed last year, Sky News reported this week.
The Treasury has been contacted to comment on its response to rising inflation.