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Inflation soars as weak pound fuels price rises

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

A jump in the price of clothing due to the fall in the pound pushed inflation to its joint highest level in more than five years, official statistics revealed today.

The Consumer Prices Index for August 2017 was 2.9% - up from 2.6% the previous month.

Prices for clothes and shoes hit record levels of inflation at 4.6% - with experts at the Office for National Statistics saying the crash in the pound after the Brexit vote could be the reason.

Rising petrol and oil prices also contributed to the hike in the headline rate, but a slower increase in flight ticket prices slightly offset the swell.

Labour said the Conservatives had presided over “economic failure” but the Government insisted it was boosting take-home pay.

Head of inflation at the ONS Mike Prestwood said: “Clothing prices rising faster than last year, along with a hike in the cost of petrol, helped nudge inflation upwards.

“Conversely, these effects were partially offset by airfares, which rose more slowly than during last year’s summer holidays.”

He added: “The costs of raw materials and goods leaving factories also increased slightly, mainly due to oil and fuel prices.”

The ONS said the rise in clothes prices “may reflect changes in the exchange rate impacting on the cost of imported clothing”.

Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd said: “The continued rise in inflation will come as further bad news for working families, who after seven years of Tory economic failure have seen their wages fail to keep up with prices.”

He added: “Only a Labour government will protect the living standards of working people by bringing in a Real Living Wage of £10 per hour, and an immediate end to austerity spending cuts."

But a spokesperson for the Treasury said: “We know some families have concerns with their day to day cost of living.

“That’s why we are boosting take home pay with tax cuts for over 30 million people and a National Living Wage that is giving the lowest earners their fastest pay rise for 20 years.” 

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