UK prices rise at fastest rate for 40 years as inflation hits 9.1%

UK’s Prices are rising at their fastest rate for 40 years as food, energy and fuel costs continue to climb.

UK inflation has risen up to 9.1% in the 12 months to May, from 9% in April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Food items such as bread, meat and cereal were a big factor in the latest rise.

Cost of living pressures have led to unions and workers calling for pay rises.

But the government has warned against employers handing out big increases in salaries over fears of a 1970s style “inflationary spiral”, where prices continued to rise as wages went up.

Currently, inflation is at the highest level since March 1982, when it also stood at 9.1% and the Bank of England has warned it will reach 11% this year.

Inflation is the pace at which prices are rising. For example, if a bottle of milk costs £1 and that rises by 5p compared with a year earlier, then milk inflation is 5%.

UK Households are witnessing £700-a-year increase in energy costs since April 2022.

Fuel price rises in June has also seen more than £100 to fill an average family car with petrol.

UK rail has been disrupted since Tuesday as rail workers begun a series of strikes in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

About 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union working for Network Rail and 13 train operators walked out, with union bosses calling for a pay rise of 7%, while employers have offered a maximum of 3%.

The ONS said rising prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages helped fuel inflation in May.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has severely restricted wheat and maize supplies, which are used to make bread and cereals, from two of the world’s biggest exporters.

Ukraine is also a major producer of of sunflower oil, meaning to the costs of alternatives have also climbed.

Market reach firm Kantar has forecast that the average annual grocery bill in the UK is set to rise by £380 this year.

Supermarket Asda said shoppers are setting £30 limits at checkouts and petrol pumps, with customers putting less in their baskets and switching to budget ranges.