UK inflation jumps to 2.3 per cent
Inflation rises to highest level since September 2013
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Inflation has jumped to 2.3 per cent in February, up from 1.8 per cent the previous month according to Office for National Statistics figures.
The ONS Consumer Price Index shows the rate for February was the highest since September 2013, having steadily increased since late 2015.
The rise surpasses the Bank of England’s inflation target of 2 per cent for the first time since the end of 2013.
But it provoked stark warnings from campaign groups concerned about wages failing to keep up with the cost of living.
Rising transport costs, particularly for fuel, were among the key factors behind the increase.
Furthermore, prices for food rose by 0.3 per cent in the year to February 2017, after 31 consecutive months of falls.
The rise was widely seen as a knock on effect of the plummeting pound following June’s Brexit vote.
Stephen Clarke, Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said the new figures marked an end to the “era of ultra-low inflation”.
“Today’s rapid increase is part of a wider trend with price rises set to be the big living standards story of this year," he said.
“To date pay settlements have failed to respond to rapidly rising prices, meaning there’s a good chance pay packets are already shrinking in real terms.
“While there is little that can be done to prevent oil price rises and a falling pound driving up inflation, today’s figures reinforce the risks to living standards of weak wage rises, especially in the context of the recent slowdown in employment growth.”
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the country was on the verge of another “living standards crisis”.
“Working people across the UK are now facing the double blow of rising prices and slower wage growth.
“If the Government doesn’t wake up, we risk sleepwalking into another living standards crisis.
“We urgently need more investment in skills and infrastructure to build strong foundations for better paid jobs.
"And it’s time to scrap the pay restrictions hitting hardworking teachers, nurses and other public servants.”
A spokesperson from the Treasury said: “The Government appreciates that families are concerned about the cost of living, and that is why we are cutting tax for millions of working people, increasing the National Living Wage to £7.50 per hour from next month, and freezing fuel duty for the seventh year in a row.”
The Bank of England has said it expects inflation to peak at 2.8 per cent in the second quarter of next year.
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