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U.K. inflation rate hits a new 40-year high of 9.1%

An entrance to Waterloo underground station stands shuttered closed for strike action in Waterloo railway station, in London, Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Matt Dunham
/
AP
An entrance to Waterloo underground station stands shuttered closed for strike action in Waterloo railway station, in London, Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

LONDON — Britain's inflation rate hit 9.1% in May, a new 40-year high and up slightly on the previous month,

The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that consumer price inflation rose slightly from 9% in April, itself the highest level since 1982.

Chief economist Grant Fitzner said "continued steep food price rises and record high petrol (gasoline) prices were offset by clothing costs rising by less than this time last year, and a drop in often fluctuating computer games prices."

The increase was in line with analysts' expectations and signals no quick end to the cost-of-living squeeze facing millions in Britain. The Bank of England says inflation could hit 11% in October when a cap on domestic energy bills is lifted.

Millions of people in Britain, like those across Europe, are seeing their cost of living soar, in part driven by Russia's war in Ukraine that is squeezing supplies of energy and food staples such as wheat

The pressure is driving workers to seek substantial pay increases, a move the Conservative government argues could spark a wage-price spiral, driving inflation even higher.

Tens of thousands of railway workers are walking off the job for three days this week in the country's biggest transit strike for three decades, and a potential precursor to a summer of labor discontent.

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