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Milk, eggs and coffee see big price hikes as UK inflation jumps higher

The latest official data showed prices rose across the board in February, including for many everyday household items and staple foods.

23 March 2022

UK inflation rocketed higher again in February as Britons faced price hikes across everything from fuel and food to clothing and computer games.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that inflation rose across 10 out of the 12 categories that feed into the index, with only communication and education not seeing increases.

Food prices have picked up as the global supply chain disruption and inflation pressures have begun to feed down to the supermarket shelves, with prices rising on a range of staple goods.

This is adding to already steep rises in petrol and energy prices, which have been hitting household finances hard.

But the ONS said the UK is “not alone” in suffering surging costs, with Britain’s measure of CPI broadly in line with that seen in Europe, while it has been rising even faster in America – reaching 8.1% in December.

The ONS said: “Many of the current drivers of this inflation are common across countries, with energy and fuel prices being subject to global market conditions and both the US and the UK seeing strong upward price pressure from used cars.”

A detailed look at the ONS data shows that among food prices rising the most, lamb continues to be high on the list, with annual Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation of 12.4% last month.

Fresh milk prices have also raced higher, up 10.1%, with a 7.4% rise for eggs, while processed vegetables and jams and sugar saw rises of 13% and 12.4% respectively.

In a blow to caffeine lovers, coffee and other hot drinks have seen prices rise by 11.5%, while the cost of tea has increased by 2.8%.

There were also large rises for mineral waters, soft drinks and juices, according to the ONS.

Clothing and footwear was another category that suffered soaring inflation, with a record rise of 8.9% on the CPI measure, and some of the biggest rises seen across womenswear, particularly trousers, dresses, short-sleeved tops and blouses, skirts, jeans and jumpers.

Women’s outerwear was up by an eye-watering 27.7% on the RPI measure, according to the ONS.

The ONS said that clothing prices normally rise between January and February as new stock starts to enter the shops following the new year sales period, but prices fell 1.5% a year earlier as trading was impacted by Covid lockdowns.

Families were also hit with price hikes for toys and games, including both computer games and more traditional toys, with CPI prices overall in the category rising by 4.2%.

Sporting equipment saw a 10.6% jump in CPI prices, while pet food and other related services was another to see costs come under pressure, with inflation of 6.5%.

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