British inflation jumps as election looms

20th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Twelve-month inflation in Britain jumped to 3.4 percent in March due to a "widespread" range of factors, official data showed Tuesday in a headache for the government before an election on May 6.

"Consumer Prices Index (CPI) annual inflation -- the government's target measure -- was 3.4 percent in March, up from 3.0 percent in February," the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

On a monthly basis, CPI inflation rose by 0.6 percent in March from February.

Market expectations had been for a smaller annual increase of 3.2 percent and a monthly gain of 0.3 percent.

The ONS said: "The upward pressures to the change in CPI annual inflation are widespread, the largest coming from housing and household services where prices rose slightly between February and March this year but fell a year ago."

"Other large upward pressures came from transport, food and non-alcoholic drinks, and clothing and footwear."

Transport prices soared by 11.3 percent on the year, which was the sharpest rise since the series began in 1997, with large upward effects from fuels and lubricants and air transport.

The prices of vegetables and fruit rose after bad weather had affected supplies of some produce, according to the ONS.

The annual inflation rate had stood at a 14-month high of 3.5 percent in January.

© 2010 AFP

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