Boris Johnson did say inflation fears had been ‘unfounded’

5 January 2022
What was claimed

Boris Johnson has never said fears about inflation were “unfounded”.

Our verdict

This is not true. Interview footage shows the Prime Minister saying this in October 2021.

”In October, the Prime Minister said that fears about inflation were unfounded.”

“Of course I said no such thing because inflation is always something we have to be careful about.”

During Prime Minister's Questions on 5 January 2022 Boris Johnson denied previously saying that fears about inflation were “unfounded”.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner (standing in for Sir Keir Starmer, who is isolating after a positive test for Covid-19) said: “In October, the Prime Minister said that fears about inflation were unfounded… So, how did he get it so wrong?” 

Mr Johnson replied that he had “of course” said “no such thing”. 

This is not true. During an interview with Sky News on 5 October 2021, when he was asked “are you worried about inflation?” the Prime Minister said: “People have been worrying about inflation for a very long time. I’m looking at robust economic growth, and by the way those fears have been unfounded.”  

This was widely covered at the time, with his use of the word “unfounded” reported as a comment on the current situation at the time he spoke.

Number 10 did not respond when contacted by Full Fact for comment. However on 12 January, Labour MP Ruth Cadbury asked Mr Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions if he would correct the record and apologise for saying he said “no such thing”. 

Mr Johnson replied: “No, because I immediately said in my answer to the question that of course you had to be concerned about inflation at all times. What I said I think on TV was that some of the predictions then about inflation had not proved well-founded, but clearly inflation is a serious risk. It is going up and what we need is a strategy to tackle it and that is what we have."

Update 12 January 2022

This article has been updated to clarify that in his October interview Mr Johnson was asked about the current situation with inflation, and to add Mr Johnson’s further comments at Prime Minister’s Questions on 12 January.

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After we published this fact check, we contacted the Prime Minister to request a correction regarding this claim.

Mr Johnson is yet to respond.

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