Rising fuel costs and energy bills have pushed UK inflation to a nine-month high of 2.8% in February.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose from 2.7% to its highest level since May last year.
The rise in domestic gas and electricity bills pushed housing costs up by 0.5% between January and February. Petrol costs increased by 4p a litre adding 1.2% to transport prices.
The ONS also published two new measures of inflation to “keep up with international standards”.
CPIH, which excludes housing costs from the CPI, rose from 2.5% to 2.6% last month. The RPIJ, intoduced to take into account disparities between the Consumer Prices Index and the Retail Prices Index, fell from 2.7% to 2.6%.
Commenting on the inflation figures, John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The marginal increase in CPI inflation to 2.8% supports our view that inflation is likely to rise slightly over the coming months, before easing back towards the end of the year.
“This is reinforced by our latest economic survey of businesses who reported expectations of further price rises.
“Against this weak economic backdrop, we urge the Chancellor to use his Budget to go all out to boost growth. We are calling on the government to introduce measures that stimulate exports, kick-start infrastructure projects and create a structure of business finance and an environment of enterprise to support growing businesses.”
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