UK inflation sees largest increase since records began

By Fionnula Hainey

UK inflation has seen its biggest increase since records began in 1997, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Inflation has surged to 3.2 per cent - the highest rate for more than nine years.

Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation jumped from 2 per cent in July to 3.2 per cent in August, which is the highest since March 2012.

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The record jump in August came as restaurant and cafe prices raced higher following last summer’s hefty discounts under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, the ONS said.

The ONS added there was also likely to have been some impact from the supply chain crisis on inflation last month, which it said helped push up food and non-alcoholic drinks prices.

But August’s hefty rise is set to be temporary, according to statisticians.

"August saw the largest rise in annual inflation month on month since the series was introduced almost a quarter of a century ago," Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, explained.

“However, much of this is likely to be temporary as last year restaurant and cafe prices fell substantially due to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, while this year prices rose.

“Food and non-alcoholic drink prices rose by more than last year, which also helped push up the rate.”

Inflation in the UK is now above the Bank of England’s target of 2 per cent.

Experts have forecast inflation will hit 4 per cent by the end of this year as the economy bounces back from the pandemic.

Global supply chain issues, combined with a lorry driver shortage in the UK, has been leading to pressure on availability of raw materials and retail stock, leaving supermarket shelves increasingly bare in recent weeks.

Builders have also been reporting delays and higher prices across materials including cement, steel and bricks.

Fuel prices also continued to drive inflation higher last month, with the cost of petrol seeing the biggest jump since September 2013.

Average petrol prices stood at 134.6 pence per litre in August 2021, compared with 113.1 pence per litre a year earlier, according to the ONS.

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