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Inflation soaring to 30-year high pressures Sunak to help with spring statement

Figures showing a 6.2% increase over 12 months came as the Chancellor prepared to announce fresh support – but Labour urged him to go further.

23 March 2022

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure to go further in helping households through the cost-of-living crisis as figures released while he prepared to deliver his spring statement showed inflation soaring to a 30-year high.

Rising energy, goods and food prices helped push inflation to increase 6.2% in the 12 months to February, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed on Wednesday morning, hours before Mr Sunak’s speech to the Commons.

He has pledged to “stand by” families to help them weather the crisis, with it being widely expected that he will cut fuel duty while Mr Sunak also considers increasing the threshold to begin paying national insurance (NI).

But Labour, branding him the “high-tax Chancellor”, has joined some Tory MPs in urging Mr Sunak to scrap the 1.25 percentage point hike to NI, which will hit next month just as energy bills soar when the price cap increases.

The struggle facing households was further laid bare by the ONS figures showing an even higher than expected rise to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) figure for measuring inflation, as it hit the highest level since March 1992, when it stood at 7.1%.

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