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20 May 2017, 02:39 | Austin Hogan
The Brexit-hit pound helped drive up the cost of living
The rising rate is caused by falling value of the British currency following the last year's Brexit vote, according to the ONS.
Meanwhile, the number of employed workers rose less than expected, climbing by 122,000 to 31.95 million in the quarter to March, compared to the previous three months.
On a month-on-month basis, the report stated the Headline index increased by 1.60 per cent in April which was 0.12 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in March.
The Statistics Department said the increase was fuelled by price rises in food sub-groups comprising Oils and Fats (39.1 per cent), Fish and Seafood (6.2 per cent) and Meat (4.2 per cent).
"Such spending will get harder to maintain as inflation remains above 2 per cent, and perhaps goes even higher, and so cuts into the growth of wages and living standards in real terms".
The ONS yesterday said that inflation hit its highest level in almost four years in April at 2.7 per cent, as sterling's weakness, electricity price hikes and rising air fares bumped up the cost of living.
Food prices also shot up over the month, seeing a 0.2 per cent month-on-month rise. Dukascopy SA is not responsible for any losses arising from any investment based on any recommendation, forecast or other information herein contained.
Inflation rose to a higher than expected 2.7% last month as the squeeze on household budgets intensified.
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The overall inflation rate, measured by CPI, is consistent with economists' views that inflation has peaked in March.
Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said that "real regular pay fell for the first time since late 2014".
The Bank of England expects wages to rise by 2% this year before picking up in 2018 and 2019.
The rate of economic inactivity was 21.5 per cent of all 16 to 64-year-olds, the lowest on record. However, inflationary pressure also came from clothing and energy costs, with none of the 13 categories of products and services witnessing price falls.
Excluding bonuses, wages were up just 2.1 per cent in the three months to March, below City analysts' expectations of a 2.2 per cent expansion, and meaning on that on this metric real pay fell by 0.2 per cent.
"This impact has been offset to some extent by continued subdued growth in domestic costs". In recent months, the ONS began including extended commentary on CPIH in its CPI releases, as it believes the reading is a more accurate gauge of price changes.
The 3% inflation level is likely to be a key threshold for the Bank of England and a move above this level would increase pressure for interest rates to be increased.
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