Cost of living: UK inflation hits 30-year high of 6.2% ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement

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The figures come ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement today

The UK’s rate of inflation has soared to 6.2% in February from 5.5% the month before - and now stands at its highest level in 30 years.

The figures come ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement today.

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He is facing calls to introduce measures that will help tackle the cost of living crisis as household budgets continue to be squeezed.

When was the last time inflation was this high?

Rising prices across the board sent UK inflation soaring higher in February.

Inflation is now at its highest level since March 1992, when it stood at 7.1%.

Since December 2021, prices have been rising at their fastest rate since the 1990s.

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January saw a near-record high in 30 years with inflation soaring to 5.5% - that figure has now been topped in February.


What prices are rising?

The Bank of England last week raised interest rates once again, to 0.75% from 0.5%, and warned inflation will now peak at around 8% in April – and could hit double-digits if wholesale energy prices continue to soar amid the Ukraine war.

In April, Ofgem will hike the energy price cap by 54% and given the impact of Ukraine on gas prices, a further increase is expected in October, possibly by as much as another 50%.

The ONS said inflation rose across 10 out of the 12 categories that feed into the index, with only communication and education not seeing increases.

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Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: “Inflation rose steeply in February as prices increased for a wide range of goods and services, for products as diverse as food to toys and games.

“Clothing and footwear saw a return to traditional February price rises after last year’s falls when many shops were closed.

“Furniture and flooring also contributed to the rise in inflation as prices started to recover following new year sales.

“The price of goods leaving UK factories has also been rising substantially and is now at its highest rate for 14 years.”

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What is inflation?

Inflation is a word used by economists to describe the sustained rise in prices of goods and services within a country over a set period of time.

Inflation rates vary all the time in response to external factors such as the price of oil, which has risen of late due to the war in Ukraine.

The ONS releases regular updates on the UK’s inflation rate, which has been brought into focus since the Covid pandemic hit, for people to assess living costs and make changes.

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