The annual UK inflation rate more than doubled in April, as a rise in energy and clothing costs drove prices higher.

The jump to 1.5% in April from 0.7% in March, means consumer prices are rising at their fastest rate since March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic. The sharp increase largely reflected a jump in prices from low levels a year ago at the start of the pandemic, the Office for National Statistics said.

Higher oil prices also pushed up petrol prices, it added.

According to the ONS, inflation climbed as lockdown restrictions were eased and shops reopened on 12 April. The rise in clothing and footwear prices reversed an unusual fall in February.

Meanwhile, gas and electricity prices rose sharply after the default tariff cap was increased compared with a cut a year earlier.

Hannah Audino, economist at PwC, said she expected inflation to continue to rise as lockdown restrictions eased and the economy continued to reopen “allowing consumers to unleash some of their excess savings”.

“Recent survey evidence suggests that the share of households who plan to spend some of their savings has increased in recent months, as the vaccine rollout boosts confidence,” she added.

April’s inflation rise had been predicted by economists, but there are concerns that soaring inflation this year as the global economy recovers from the pandemic could push central banks to raise interest rates.

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Source: BBC

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