Fuel and energy price rises push inflation to highest rate in six months
Inflation rose to its highest rate in six months following a surge in fuel and energy prices.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that the Consumer Prices Index hit 1.8% in January, up from 1.3% the month before and ahead of the 1.6% which had been predicted.
It was fuelled by increases in the cost of electricity, petrol and air fares, according to the ONS.
Labour said the grim news was further proof of an "unstable economy" under the Conservatives.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: "The Tories' poor economic management has contributed to an unstable economy, with prices rising sharply for people already suffering from ten years of vicious cuts.
"Successive Conservative governments have repeatedly blamed anyone but themselves for an under-performing economy.
"It's time for this chaotic government to take responsibility for these failings, and to reverse the decade of decline the Tories have brought to this economy.”
Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “Rising inflation, zero hours contracts and an industrial strategy that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on - that’s a Tory triple threat to living standards, job security and job creation in this country."
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Families across the country are better off as a result of the strong wage growth and low inflation over the last 18 months.
“We want to go further to help with the cost of living – that’s why we’ve cut taxes for 31 million people and given nearly 2.4 million a pay rise through our record increase to the National Living Wage.”
Explaining the inflation figures, Mike Hardie from the ONS said: “The rise in inflation is largely the result of higher prices at the pump and airfares falling by less than a year ago.
“In addition, gas and electricity prices were unchanged this month, but fell this time last year due to the introduction of the energy price cap.
“Annual house prices grew across all regions of the UK, the first time this has happened in nearly two years, with London seeing its strongest growth since October 2017.”