The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation marked the largest monthly increase since 2009 last month.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), CPI rose 0.8 per cent in February 2022 on a monthly basis. This was compared to a rise of just 0.1 per cent in February 2021.
CPI rose 6.2 per cent in the 12 months to February 2022, up from 5.5 per cent in January. This is the highest CPI 12-month inflation rate since March 1992, when inflation hit 7.1 per cent.
The figures come as all eyes are on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to address concerns about a looming cost of living crisis, with several household bills set to rise this spring.
CPI including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) rose 5.5 per cent in the year to February 2022, with cost increases from electricity, gas and other fuels driving the rate up.
Other costs to put pressure on households include increases for transport, principally from motor fuels and second-hand cars.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Many supermarkets have expanded their value ranges to support individuals and households on lower incomes. Nonetheless, with retailers struggling to absorb these higher costs, shop prices look set to rise in the coming months.
“The situation in Ukraine is undoubtedly exacerbating existing cost pressures in the supply chain – from increased energy costs to higher global commodity prices.”
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “The UK inflation reading for February is a bit like testing the temperature of a hot bath before a few more kettles of boiling water are poured in. Inflation has heated up yet again to 6.2 per cent, slightly higher than predicted and more than triple the level of the bank’s target.
“This is before the commodity chaos unleashed by the invasion of Ukraine fully shows up in the figures, so the expectation is that with inflation becoming hotter, the Bank of England will try and turn on the cold taps by raising rates more assertively.