Cost of living crisis intensifies as inflation hits 10.4%

Rising clothing and and food prices have pushed inflation up to 10.4% in February, new figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show this morning (March 22).

Consumer prices jumped from 10.1% in January, with food and non-alcoholic drink inflation rising to 18.2% in the year to February, while clothing and footwear costs were up by 8% over the same period. Other contributory factors were price rises in electricity and gas.

The rise will intensify the cost of living crisis and come as a surprise to City analysts who were expecting inflation to fall to 9.9%.

ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: ““Inflation ticked up in February, mainly driven by rising alcohol prices in pubs and restaurants following discounting in January.

“Food and non-alcoholic drink prices rose to their highest rate in over 45 years with particular increases for some salad and vegetable items as high energy costs and bad weather across parts of Europe led to shortages and rationing.

“These were partially offset by falls in the cost of motor fuel, where the annual inflation rate has eased for seven consecutive months.”

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