Economic crisis in the UK looming as crude prices soar

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New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) Indian-origin Trade Minister Baroness Vadera has officially declared Britain's slump an ''economic crisis'' as hard-up families face paying an extra 650 pounds a year for petrol, food and heating.

Baroness Vadera, a close adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, admitted for the first time what the nation had feared--that rocky times lie ahead.

With the Government already braced for a by-election trouncing at Crewe and Nantwich, she warned of soaring bills and falling living standards as oil prices went rocketing to a record high of 135 dollars a barrel.

The forecourt price of unleaded petrol is set to rise by another 2.5 pence a litre within four weeks, which is bound to trigger a knock-on effect on food prices and heating costs.

Lady Vadera, a former investment banker, said, ''we are facing a very testing period in the economy. This is the first real economic crisis of globalisation.

''With a small start in Texas, the global credit crunch is combining with international prices, and this is also impacting on food prices.'' She also added, ''I strongly believe that the UK is relatively well placed to face these challenges.'' A family can now expect to have to fork out another 250 pounds a year for petrol to run an average-sized car.

Analysts say energy costs could also leap by as much as 40 per cent, slapping an extra 400 pounds on a typical family's annual heating and lighting bill.

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