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UK inflation jumps to 40-year high of 9% as food and energy prices spiral

More than four in five people in the U.K. are worried about rising living costs and their ability to afford basics necessities like food and energy over the coming months, according to a new survey.
Tolga Akmen | Afp | Getty Images

LONDON — U.K. inflation soared to a 40-year high of 9% in April as food and energy prices spiraled, official figures revealed Wednesday, escalating the country’s cost-of-living crisis.

Consumer prices rose by 2.5% month-on-month, fractionally below expectations for a 2.6% climb in a Reuters poll of economists, which had projected a 9.1% annual increase.

The 9% rise in the consumer price index is the highest since records began in their current form 1989, outstripping the 8.4% annual rise posted in March 1992 and well ahead of the 7% seen in March of this year.

The Office for National Statistics has recently published modelled CPI data on an indicative basis for earlier periods, and said its new estimates suggest that inflation would last have been higher “sometime around 1982, where estimates range between approximately 6.5% in December to nearly 11% in January.”

From April 1, the U.K. energy regulator increased the household energy price cap by 54% following a surge in energy prices, including a record rise in global gas prices. The regulator, Ofgem, has not ruled out further increases to the cap at its periodic reviews this year.

The Bank of England has hiked interest rates at four consecutive meetings, raising the cost of borrowing from its historic pandemic-era low of 0.1% to a 13-year high of 1%, as it looks to rein in runaway inflation without stomping out economic growth.

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