The brutal squeeze on families was underlined today after inflation crept up again.
The headline CPI rate increased from an annual rate of 9 per cent in April to 9.1 per cent in May – a 40-year high.
The official figures will heap pressure on the Bank of England to cool prices by hiking interest rates again.
It has predicted that inflation will top 11 per cent by the end of the year, as the Ukraine crisis drives up energy costs and the economy stalls.
The headline CPI rate increased from an annual rate of 9 per cent in April to 9.1 per cent in May – a 40-year high
Ministers have been pleading for wage restraint to avoid a spiral developing that could plunge the country deeper into trouble.
ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: ‘Though still at historically high levels, the annual inflation rate was little changed in May.
‘Continued steep food price rises and record high petrol prices were offset by clothing costs rising by less than this time last year and a drop in often fluctuating computer games prices.
‘The price of goods leaving factories rose at their fastest rate in 45 years, driven by widespread food price rises, while the cost of raw materials leapt at their fastest rate on record.’