Prices rose 5.2 percent from a year earlier, the most since records began in 1997, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. Inflation has now exceeded the Bank of England's 2 percent target for a year.
The central bank cut the benchmark interest rate last week by half a point to 4.5 percent after an emergency meeting. The crisis of confidence in the banking system and lower commodity prices have raised the risk that inflation may slow below the target, policy maker Andrew Sentance said yesterday.
Consumer prices rose 0.5 percent on the month, the statistics office said. The annual increase in prices was led by electricity and gas costs, culture, recreation, clothing and footwear. Food inflation slowed for the first time since March to 12.7 percent, from 14.5 percent in August.
Oil prices have fallen 45 percent from a record in July as the prospect of a global recession crimps demand for fuel. High energy costs have lifted Britons' utility bills this year, feeding faster inflation.
So-called core inflation, which strips out costs of food, energy, tobacco and alcoholic beverages, still accelerated to 2.2 percent, the fastest pace since at least 1997.
Retail price inflation, the cost-of-living measure often used in wage negotiations, accelerated to 5 percent. Excluding mortgage interest payments, it reached 5.5 percent, the fastest pace since 1992.