The UTV Podcast: How inflation works and the role of the public in setting the rate

An economist has warned of the "vicious cycle" of the effect pay rises have on pushing up inflation and the need for the right balance to be struck in order to try and bring it down.

Paige McCoy, an assistant economist at the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre was speaking to the UTV Podcast.

She says it may not be the best time for firms to be considering pay rises while government grapples with trying to reduce the rate.

"People are seeing their incomes really squeezed and they are struggling to pay for things," she said.

"But if those wages go up the firms that give those wages are going to up their costs again to cover it, passing that on to the consumer."

For the latest edition, Paige discusses what inflation is, what causes it, and why governments find it difficult to control.

"If [wage] increases are given, we will see a third sort of play of inflation come in and it will be like a second round of price increases.

"If those wages go up the firms that give those wages are going to up their costs again to cover it, passing that on to the consumer and those who get pay increases.

"With additional disposable income they are going to spend more, increasing demand so it sort of becomes a vicious cycle were prices rise and you want another wage increase and it keeps going.

"Especially with inflation as high as it is at the minute, it might not be the best time for those pay rises to come into place."

She added: "There has to be a balancing act of trying to bring down inflation. We are going to be in a recession... but we want to minimise the effects."

Also in the podcast is Sean Bruen, the founder of the social enterprise Kith and Kin.

Sean has more than 20 years experience as a financial advisor.

He speaks of how people can mitigate against rising prices, such as how to bring mortgage payments back down by "extending the term" or through creating a budget planner, with his company offering 10 minute sessions on how to complete one.

Sean urged people not to withdraw from pension schemes or to cancel life insurance policies as a means to cut outgoings.

"It's a massive gamble obviously," he said.

"If a bank had a savings scheme were you put in 80% and they gave you 20% on top... there would be a queue down the street looking to open up that bank account."

"Because they see it so far in the future they think well, we'll take a couple years out save ourselves some money but the trouble is people opt out and then opting back in can be quite hard because you've got used to that money.

"We had a client about two years ago who was finding things tough, cancelled her insurance policy, which was for critical illness and then, sod's law, about six months later she got diagnosed with cancer."

If you are struggling with your finances and need any help you can contact Kith and Kin online at, by telephone 02890 877777 or through email at

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