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UK inflation hits 40-year high of 9.1 percent in May

Prices in the U.K. rose at the fastest rate in 40 years in May, with inflation hitting 9.1 percent on an annual basis, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday.

Rising energy, fuel, food and housing costs were largely behind the sky-high inflation figures, the ONS indicated.

The jump in the U.K.’s Consumer Prices Index is the highest CPI 12-month inflation rate since records began in January 1997, beating the 9 percent record set just a month earlier in April, according to the ONS. The stats office said CPI estimates suggested inflation was higher this May than it has been since 1982.

The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) rose by 7.9 percent in the 12 months to May, with the largest contributing factors coming from housing, household services and transport costs. It was the highest recorded 12-month CPIH since record-keeping began in January 2006. Based on estimates, the ONS said, the last time the rate was higher was in April 1991 — during a recession in the U.K. — when it stood at 8 percent.

And there are signs of more trouble ahead, with the Bank of England warning earlier this month that inflation could hit 11 percent this year.

“We are using all the tools at our disposal to bring inflation down and combat rising prices,” U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

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