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Inflation surges to 6.2% as cost-of-living crisis escalates

The Office for National Statistics said prices rose across food, clothing and footwear and a range of products and services last month.

23 March 2022

Rising prices across the board sent UK inflation soaring higher in February as the cost-of-living crisis intensified, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 6.2% in February, up from 5.5% in January and again reaching the highest level since March 1992, when it stood at 7.1%.

The rise was higher than expected and comes after prices lifted across food, clothing and footwear and a range of products and services.

The ONS said inflation rose across 10 out of the 12 categories that feed into the index, with only communication and education not seeing increases.

It comes after the Bank of England last week raised interest rates once again, to 0.75% from 0.5%, and warned inflation will now peak at around 8% in April – and could hit double-digits if wholesale energy prices continue to soar amid the Ukraine war.

In April, Ofgem will hike the energy price cap by 54% and given the impact of Ukraine on gas prices, a further increase is expected in October, possibly by as much as another 50%.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the ONS, said: “Inflation rose steeply in February as prices increased for a wide range of goods and services, for products as diverse as food to toys and games.

“Clothing and footwear saw a return to traditional February price rises after last year’s falls when many shops were closed.

“Furniture and flooring also contributed to the rise in inflation as prices started to recover following new year sales.

“The price of goods leaving UK factories has also been rising substantially and is now at its highest rate for 14 years.”

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