UK inflation rises to 0.7% in March

Higher prices for fuel and clothes pushed the UK’s consumer price inflation rate to 0.7% in the 12 months to March, according to the latest report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It comes after inflation dipped to 0.4% in February.

Fuel prices showed their biggest annual increase since January 2020, the ONS said.

The March figure would have been higher without a fall in food prices. In the year to March, overall prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages declined by 1.4%, particularly due to lower prices for bread, cereals and confectionery.

“The rate of inflation increased with petrol prices rising and clothes recovering from the falls seen in February,” said ONS deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow.

“However, food prices fell back on the year, as prices of some staples were lower than at the start of the pandemic.”

The Bank of England has forecast that UK inflation will reach 1.9% by the end of 2021, while many economists say it will exceed 2% before then.