Economy  

Inflation rises to 40-year high of 9%

Inflation rises to 40-year high of 9%
A market stall holder hands change to a customer at a street market in London (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Inflation rose to a 40-year high in April, in what an expert has described as the worst inflation crisis seen in a lifetime.

The consumer prices index rose to 9 per cent in the 12 months to April this year, driven by high energy prices and transport costs, according to the Office for National Statistics.

RPI, which measures the changes in retail prices of a basket of goods and services, as opposed to the weighted average prices tracked by the CPI, rose 11.1 per cent, up from 9 per cent in March.

Kevin Brown, savings specialist at Scottish Friendly, said in practical terms households are being hit in two painful ways, as their ability to keep up with day-to-day spending diminishes alongside their ability to save in a meaningful way.

“This inflation crisis really is the worst we’ve seen in a lifetime,” he said.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said countries around the world are dealing with rising inflation.

He said: “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."

Earlier this month, the Bank of England raised interest rates to 1 per cent in a bid to tame the soaring rate of inflation.

However, the governor of the BoE, Andrew Bailey, said earlier this week that the bank cannot stop inflation hitting 10 per cent.

Dan Boardman-Weston, chief executive officer at BRI Wealth Management, said the central bank in a "really tricky spot".

“[It] needs to raise rates given that inflation is approaching 10 per cent but it is raising rates into a slowing economy, which will have painful consequences. 

“The significant increases in the cost of living, the national insurance hike and interest rate increases have started to affect consumer demand and sentiment and the economic outlook looks darker than it has for some time.”

sally.hickey@ft.com