Soaring air fares keep UK inflation high

Higher air fares and food bills offset lower fuel and used-car prices to keep the UK cost of living well above the Bank of England’s target today.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) held at 3.1% in August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, still well above the Bank’s 2% target.

The largest upward pressure on inflation came from air transport, where fares rose by 16.1% between July and August – a record for that period, the ONS said.

A 2.8% hike in clothing costs from July to August, the largest rise for the period since 2001, and a 0.1% increase in food prices across the period also had an upward effect.

But falling petrol costs and second-hand car prices over the month – in contrast with a steep rises a year earlier – held CPI overall.

Today’s figure, which was higher than most City expectations, is likely to fuel concerns at the Bank about the recent strength of inflation.

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