The government suffered a big blow today as new figures showed the cost of living went up by half a percent to 2.7 per cent between September and October.
The hike in university tuition fees and increasing household food costs are being blamed.
Watch Economics Editor Richard Edgar's report:
Read more in Richard Edgar's blog.
UK inflation leapt to 2.7% last month after university students were hit with a near-trebling in tuition fees and households faced rising food costs, official figures have revealed.
ITV News' Economics Editor Richard Edgar reports.
The squeeze on household incomes that has turned into a nightmare stranglehold for millions of working people should herald a government economic U-turn.
We are in a desperate situation where millions of working people and their families are juggling rising food and energy bills when household incomes for the majority of people have not kept pace in recent years. Where families lead in suffering, shops and businesses will follow.
– Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary
With further energy price rises due in the next couple of months, a bleak mid-winter can expected by millions whose lives have been made a misery by ministers unable to connect with the lives of ordinary people.
George Osborne’s misguided and ill-conceived austerity programme is pushing the people of this country to breaking point. What is needed is action now to put money into the pockets of the millions of working people who are the backbone of this country. Instead, we get £40,000 tax-breaks for the super rich.
This is a worrying increase in the inflation rate. But instead of easing the squeeze, the Government is adding to the cost of living crisis for people on low and middle incomes.
Conservative and Lib Dem MPs last night voted against Labour’s call for January’s 3p fuel duty rise to be postponed. And in the coming months millions of families and pensioners on low and middle incomes face rising energy bills, cuts to child benefit and the granny tax, while 8,000 millionaires get a tax cut.
– Catherine McKinnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister
This out of touch government has got its priorities all wrong. It’s time they took urgent action to help people on middle and low incomes and kick-start our flatlining economy.
– Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber
These figures are a big blow to millions of workers who need their pay packets to catch up with the rising cost of living.
Much of this rise is a direct result of government policy. The trebling of tuition fees has dealt another blow to young people already struggling for work.
People have been getting poorer for nearly three years now and their incomes are being squeezed even tighter. It could take many years to undo the damage caused by our living standards crunch.
The near-trebling in tuition fees was the primary reason UK inflation leapt to 2.7% - up from 2.2% in October which is the largest increase in more than a year.
Education costs jumped by 19.1% last month - the largest since records began - the Office for National Statistics said.
Students starting at university this year will have to pay up to £9.000 a year - increased from a cap of £3,375 a year ago.
The rise in inflation was far more than economists had pencilled in and marks the first time inflation has risen since July.
– Treasury spokesperson
It is disappointing that inflation increased in October. Inflation remains much lower than its peak of 5.2% last September. The Government has taken action to help people with the cost of living, including freezing fuel duty and council tax and taking two million people out of income tax altogether.
The Consumer Price Index is up to 2.7% - the biggest push up from tuition fees. An increase in food prices is the second biggest factor in pushing prices up faster.
The big picture is still the same - prices rising faster than wages, so the gap between what families have to spend and what they need to is still growing.
The underlying rate of retail price index inflation rose to 3.1% in October from 2.6% in September, the ONS said.