Inflation hits highest rate for 40 years as energy bills soar

UK inflation jumped to 9% in April – its highest level for more than 40 years – as rising energy bills hit millions of households.

The latest data from the consumer prices index shows an increase from March, when the rate was 7%, and February, when it was 6.2%.

The surge came as millions of people saw an unprecedented £700-a-year rise in energy costs last month.

Higher fuel and food prices, driven by the Ukraine war, are also pushing the cost of living up, with inflation expected to continue to rise this year.

Around three quarters of the rise in inflation in April came from higher electricity and gas bills, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the ONS, said: “Inflation rose steeply in April, driven by the sharp climb in electricity and gas prices as the higher price cap came into effect.

“Around three-quarters of the increase in the annual rate this month came from utility bills.

“We have also published new modelled historical estimates today which show that CPI annual inflation was last higher 40 years ago.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s inflation numbers are driven by the energy price cap rise in April, which in turn is driven by higher global energy prices.

“We cannot protect people completely from these global challenges but are providing significant support where we can, and stand ready to take further action.”

The Bank of England has warned that inflation could peak at more than 10% later this year.

The government is under growing political pressure to help struggling families, with calls for a windfall tax on energy giants to help fund intervention.