UK inflation soared to 9 percent in April

U.K. consumer price inflation hit 9 percent in April, a significant increase since last month and highest rate in over 40 years, according to data released Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

The reading marks a jump from the 7 percent posted in March. Factors that contributed to the increase include transportation and production costs; recreational and cultural activities; restaurant and hotel prices; food and non-alcoholic beverages; and prices for furniture, household equipment and maintenance. Only prices for clothing and footwear dropped on the month.

When adjusted to include owner-occupied housing costs, prices rose by 7.8 percent in April, up from 6.2 percent in March.

“Inflation rose steeply in April, driven by the sharp climb in electricity and gas prices,” said Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the ONS, in a statement. “Steep annual rises in the cost of metals, chemicals and crude oil also continued, along with higher prices for goods leaving factory gates,” he added.

The inflation surge increases pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to curb the rising cost of living for low-income families and pensioners. He framed the issue as an international challenge after the data came out.

“Countries around the world are dealing with rising inflation,” he said in a statement. “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,” he added.