UK inflation hits 41-year high of 11.1% from rising energy bills – what it means for your money


THE UK’s rate of inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October driven by soaring gas and electricity prices.

The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals the annual rate has shot up again from 10.1% in September.

Inflation has hit a 41-year high today. Source: ONS

Today’s inflation rate is the highest since 1982, making it the biggest increase in 41 years, the ONS said. 

Most economists had been expecting rise to 10.7%.

Inflation is a measure of how the price of goods and services have changed over the past year. 

When it goes up it means prices on everyday items, essentials, fuel and bills are higher – which means budgets are being squeezed.

The soaring rate reflects the current cost of living crisis, with millions of people grappling with rising energy bills, petrol prices and grocery costs. 

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the ONS, said: “Rising gas and electricity prices drove headline inflation to its highest level for over 40 years, despite the Energy Price Guarantee.

“Over the past year, gas prices have climbed nearly 130% while electricity has risen by around 66%.

“Increases across a range of food items also pushed up inflation.

“These were partially offset by motor fuels, where average petrol prices fell on the month, while the price for diesel rose taking the disparity in price between the two fuels to the highest on record.

“There was further evidence that costs facing businesses are rising more slowly, driven by crude oil and petroleum prices.”

The Energy Price Guarantee sets a limit on the unit price and standing charge that companies can bill their customers.

It will see bills frozen at £2,500 for the typical household until April next year.

It comes as the Autumn Statement is being revealed tomorrow and announcements about living wage and benefit rise are expected.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says the rate increase is largely due to the conflict in Ukraine and the aftermath of the pandemic.

Mr Hunt said: “This insidious tax is eating into pay cheques, household budgets and savings, while thwarting any chance of long-term economic growth. 

“It is our duty to help the Bank of England in their mission to return inflation to target by acting responsibly with the nation’s finances.

“That requires some tough but necessary decisions on tax and spending to help balance the books.

“We cannot have long-term, sustainable growth with high inflation.

“Tomorrow I will set out a plan to get debt falling, deliver stability, and drive down inflation while protecting the most vulnerable.”

It follows the news yesterday that regular pay in real terms fell by 2.7% in July to September.

What does it mean for my money?

Rising inflation indicates that the cost of goods and services is rising, so your money won’t count for as much as it did before.

Inflation rose to 10.1% in September, and with the rate now at 11.1%, your cash won’t go far.

Prices on everyday items such as food and petrol will remain high for now though.

With food prices up by 16.4% on last year – your money will not get you less in the supermarket.

It will mean that households will need to batten down the hatches when it comes to personal spending on food, but also energy, household bills and fuel.

High inflation rates, according to Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest, “gnaw away at savings and makes it very hard for people to maintain their living standards”.

Ms Haine said: “With higher energy and food prices the main cause of October’s sky-high inflation figure, consumers need to be much savvier about their energy consumption at home and their weekly shop, ditching favourites such as Heinz Tomato Ketchup, which has shot up 53% since 2020, for cheaper supermarket own brands.”

Worker’s wages are also stagnating, as they fail to keep pace with soaring inflation.

Ms Haine added: “Securing a pay rise won’t ease the pain either.

“While wages are rising at their fastest rate since 2000, with regular pay up 5.7% in the year to September, when adjusted for rising prices, real pay actually fell by 2.7%.

“So, unless workers can make an inflation-beating job move, they will find the purchasing power of their take-home pay is still severely compromised.”