UK inflation has hit its highest level for more than a decade as supply chain disruption and record fuel prices have sent the cost of living soaring, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose from 4.2 per cent in October to 5.1 per cent in November – the highest since September 2011 and a bigger leap than feared.
The data also revealed that the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation soared to its highest level for more than 30 years – hitting 7.1 per cent last month, up from 6 per cent in October.
Mounting cost-of-living crisis
Laying bare the mounting cost-of-living crisis facing Britons, the ONS reported surging prices across a raft of goods and services, including for fuel, energy, cars, clothing and food.
Figures showed that petrol prices jumped to the highest ever recorded – 145.8p a litre last month – while the cost of used cars also raced higher due to shortages of new motors as supply chain issues continue to affect the economy.
It is the first time that CPI has breached 5 per cent for more than a decade and sees inflation remain more than double the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target.
Bank of England meeting
The data puts further pressure on the Bank ahead of its interest rate meeting on Thursday, with policymakers having to weigh up the need to rein in rampant inflation but also to support growth as the threat of Omicron grows.
The eye-watering leap in inflation is higher than had been expected, with economists having pencilled in a rise to 4.8 per cent in November.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We know how challenging rising inflation can be for families and households, which is why we’re spending £4.2 billion to support living standards and provide targeted measures for the most vulnerable over the winter months.
“With a resurgence of the virus, the most important thing we can do to safeguard the economic recovery is for everyone to get boosted now.”
But Labour claimed the Government is not doing enough to tackle rapidly-rising inflation.
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said: “These figures are a stark illustration of the cost-of-living crisis facing families this Christmas.
“Instead of taking action, the Government are looking the other way, blaming ‘global problems’ while they trap us in a high-tax, low-growth cycle.”
Winter of discontent
Meanwhile, Lewis Shaw, founder of Mansfield-based Shaw Financial Services, said: “Welcome to the winter of discontent.
“Alongside raging inflation and its impact on households, there is a looming threat of another lockdown to contain the Omicron variant and we now have a scandal in Number 10, just when we needed strong leadership most.
“Sadly, things look as though they’re set to get worse.
“The data on COVID looks awful, and raising the base rate will cause sentiment to deteriorate even further.
“To bring inflation under control we don’t need rates to rise, we need freedom of movement back. I know that may not be popular, but it’s true.
“The safest option for now is to sit tight, get some money printed and wait for things to settle down.”