A councillor who responded "absolute b******s" to a claim the current cost of living crisis is the “worst in 100 years” has apologised for using inappropriate language.

In an audio recording taken at a Hertsmere Borough Council meeting on October 31, Conservative member Paul Hodgson-Jones could be heard using the expletive following comments by a Labour councillor.

Cllr Hodgson-Jones said he was unaware somebody was taking an unofficial audio recording at the audit committee meeting and later apologised in the meeting.

In the recording, Potters Bar member Cllr Hodgson-Jones said the term “cost of living crisis” is a “massive sloganising misnomer” and that the UK is in an inflation crisis instead.

He asked Borehamwood Labour councillor Dan Ozarow: “Did you say ‘the highest inflation for a hundred years’?”

Cllr Ozarow replied: “I said ‘the worst cost of living crisis for a hundred years’.”

Cllr Hodgson-Jones said: “I think that’s absolute b*******. If you’d lived through the ’70s, you would know what inflation really was.”

Conservative councillor David Carter, who was chairing the meeting, interrupted the exchange and Cllr Hodgson-Jones apologised.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Hodgson-Jones said: “I called Cllr Ozarow out on the inaccuracy that this is the worst cost of living crisis in 100 years. Manifestly, it is not.

“I remember in the 1980s when inflation hit double figures, and in the early 1980s when inflation nearly hit 20 per cent – around the 18pc mark.

“This is an inflation crisis which is not created by this Government but is down to global and external factors.

“The problem with problems is that if you do not understand and label them correctly, you cannot come up with the correct solution.”

Borehamwood Times: The meeting was taking place at the Hertsmere Borough Council offices in BorehamwoodThe meeting was taking place at the Hertsmere Borough Council offices in Borehamwood (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Ozarow said he was “aghast” when he heard the comments.

He added: “There is no excuse for that insensitivity given how many people are struggling."

According to the Office for National Statistics, consumer price index inflation – the jump in the cost of an average basket of goods and services – rose by 8.8% in the 12 months to September 2022.

Some councils, including Hertfordshire County Council, have issued lists of places where people struggling to pay energy bills can stay warm.