Inflation rate continues to rise
The consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation rose to 4.5% in August, up from 4.4% in July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. This was equal to the CPI rate in May and was last higher in September 2008.
Housing, water, electricity and gas prices increased by 5.1% year-on-year, the ONS said - the highest annual increase since July 2009 - in a month when Scottish Power and British Gas both raised their energy tariffs.
Elsewhere, ONS figures showed the UK's trade deficit in goods - the gap between goods imported and exported - was flat at £8.9 billion in July.
The Bank of England, which has forecast inflation hitting 5% before the end of the year, would have widely expected the increase in the rate of inflation, which is still well-above the 2% Government target.
The Bank expects inflation to fall below target to around 1.8% in two years, particularly as this year's VAT increase falls out of the calculation.
Clothing and footwear saw its biggest annual increase since records began in 1997, up 4% year-on-year, with the largest upward effects coming from women's outerwear, where prices rose at the start of the autumn season.
There were further record rises in August, with furniture, household equipment and maintenance up 5.8% year-on-year and restaurants and hotels soaring 4.6% - both the highest annual increases on record.
Elsewhere, the retail prices index of inflation, which includes housing costs such as mortgage payments and council tax, increased to 5.3% in August, up from 5% in July.
© 2011 Press Association