UK Inflation Reaches 30-Year High Ahead Of Spring Statement
UK inflation increased quicker than expected last month, reaching a 30-year high. The rise has exacerbated a historic squeeze on household finances that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is under pressure to mitigate in the spring statement later on Wednesday.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), consumer prices rose by 6.2% year-on-year in February after a 5.5% rise in January. This is its highest rate since March 1992.
The UK now has the second-highest annual inflation rate among Group Seven countries, behind only the US which hit a four-decade-high of 7.5% in January of this year.
The ONS pointed to UK household energy bills, which were up almost 25% on a year ago, and petrol as the biggest drivers of February’s price hike. The ONS also warned that food prices were rising across the board in a further blow to low-income households.
“The UK economy has shown relative strength during the last few years, but we can expect more pressure if the rising commodity (energy, food, agriculture) costs are not tackled soon enough, as well as if the planned increase in National Insurance goes ahead,” commented Lecturer in Finance Dr Nikolaos Antypas.
“Overall, we should expect measures to minimise the unavoidable economic suffering for the most vulnerable UK residents instead of net positive measures for all socioeconomic strata.”