// ONS says the Consumer Prices Index hit 0.7% in March
// This follows 0.4% reading in February and 0.7% in January
// Discounting eased somewhat in March but it was still unseasonably high
The UK’s rate of inflation rose in March, but it remained below expectations as fashion and petrol prices increased.
The ONS said the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) hit 0.7 per cent in March.
It comes after a 0.4 per cent reading in February and 0.7 per cent in January.
Inflation had unexpectedly eased in February, in part because of the biggest annual fall in clothing and footwear costs since 2009.
The ONS said discounting, which had been commonplace in February, eased somewhat in March but it was still unseasonably high.
“The rate of inflation increased with petrol prices rising and clothes recovering from the falls seen in February,” ONS deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow said.
“However, food prices fell back on the year, as prices of some staples were lower than at the start of the pandemic.”
The price of petrol hit 123.7 pence per litre in March 2021, up from 119.4 pence per litre a year ago.
Inflation is expected to increase this year, as the UK and other countries around the world emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bank of England forecasts have inflation reaching around two per cent by the end of 2021.
The ONS said that CPIH, an inflation measure that includes housing costs for owner-occupiers, rose from 0.7 per cent in February to one per cent in March.
Meanwhile, the Retail Price Index (RPI), used to calculate train ticket price rises and student loan interest, rose from 1.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent.
with PA Wires