UK inflation hits 41-year high of 11.1% as Hunt readies budget
Surging household energy bills and food prices pushed British inflation to a new 41-year high in October, according to data published a day before finance minister Jeremy Hunt announces tax hikes and spending cuts to control price growth.
Consumer prices rose by 11.1% in annual terms last month, the highest reading since October 1981 and a big jump from 10.1% in September, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday.
conomists polled by Reuters had forecast the inflation rate would rise by less to 10.7%.
The ONS said inflation would have risen to around 13.8% in October had the government not intervened to limit the price of household energy bills to 2,500 pounds ($2,960.25) a year on average.
Hurting those on the lowest incomes the most, prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose at the fastest rate since 1977, the ONS said.
In response to the data, Hunt – who is due to outline a new budget on Thursday – said “tough but necessary” decisions were required to tackle rising prices.
“It is our duty to help the Bank of England in their mission to return inflation to target by acting responsibly with the nation’s finances,” Hunt said in a statement.
The ONS said low-income households were facing a bigger hit from inflation than the wealthiest as energy and food take up a bigger share of their spending.
The lowest-income households suffered an inflation rate of 11.9% while top earners faced a 10.5% rate, it said.