Inflation soared to 4.4% last month – the biggest jump in the cost of living in more than 16 years – on the back of rocketing food prices, clouding hopes that the Bank of England will move to cut interest rates in coming months.
The Office for National Statistics said today that the consumer prices index (CPI), the government’s preferred inflation measure, leapt to an annual rate of 4.4%, up from 3.8% in June. This beat analysts’ expectations of inflation of 4.1%, and is more than double the government’s target.
This is the highest level recorded since the CPI series began in January 1997. According to analysts, inflation was last higher in April 1992 when it hit 4.7%.
The main driver was hefty rises in food prices, particularly bacon, ham and poultry. The cost of meat on the year was up a record 13.7%. Bread and cereal prices also shot up and fuel inflation was at an all-time high as well.