Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Price rises see record jump as food costs soar in August

THE UK inflation rate hit 3.2% in the year to August, the biggest increase since records began in 1997, as the economy continued to reopen reports the BBC.

The Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation rose from 2% in July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, driven by higher food costs.

The rate now exceeds the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target again.

The cost of living went up less rapidly in July because of lower clothing and footwear prices.

However, the ONS urged caution in reading too much into August’s price increases, which it described as “temporary”.

Eating and drinking out cost more last month in comparison with August last year, when the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme was running and diners got a state-backed 50% discount on meals up to £10 each on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

At the same time, business owners in the hospitality and tourism sectors received a VAT discount, designed to help some of the industries worst hit by the pandemic.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “August saw the largest rise in annual inflation month-on-month since the series was introduced almost a quarter of a century ago.

“However, much of this is likely to be temporary, as last year, restaurant and cafe prices fell substantially due to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, while this year, prices rose.”

In August this year, transport costs also increased. 

Average petrol prices stood at 134.6 pence a litre, compared with 113.1 pence a litre a year earlier, when travel was reduced under lockdown restrictions.


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