UK inflation rate highest since 2013

"Air fares were the main contributors to the increase in the rate in April 2017, although this balanced out a downward effect of similar magnitude in March 2017 and is due to Easter falling later than previous year", the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

The level of people in employment in the United Kingdom reached a new record high in the first quarter of the year as unemployment reached its lowest since 1975.

"Having hovered close to zero back in 2015, inflation has really picked up in 2017, doubling in the last six months alone and now at its highest level for nearly four years", said Matt Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation.

"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".

Food prices also became more expensive in April, rising 0.2% month-on-month after coming in flat a year ago.

On a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.60 percent in April 2017, 0.12 percent points lower than the rate recorded in March.

The pound strengthened after the data although none of the Bank of England's other rate-setters have so far joined Kristin Forbes in voting for an interest rate rise.

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The price of clothes also rose to the highest level for six years, climbing by 1.1% between March and April after falling by 0.4% a year ago.

The Bank of England's monetary policymakers have repeatedly pointed to stagnating wage growth as evidence there is further slack in the labour market.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation recorded a 0.02 percent decline in April, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said on Tuesday.

Inflation was last at 2.7% in September 2013 and has not been higher since July that year.

Earlier this month, the central bank left key policy rate unchanged at 6.25 per cent for the third review in a row, citing upside risks to inflation.

Excluding bonuses, wages rose by 2.1% in the three months to March, missing forecasts for it remain in line with February's 2.2% advance.

Archer says: "Companies are keen to try and limit pay as they face an increasingly challenging domestic environment and as their input costs have been lifted markedly by the sharp overall weakening of the pound". The increase in core inflation has been relatively modest compared with higher headline inflation.

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