The sharply rising cost of living led to inflation hitting a three-and-a-half year high last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

Higher air fares and rising prices for clothes, vehicle excise duty and electricity drove the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation reached 2.7% in April.


The CPI rate in April, the highest rate since September 2013.


The Bank of England's target.

The rise keeps the rate above the Bank of England's 2% target and comes after it held at 2.3% in February and March.

The Bank's inflation report on Thursday predicted CPI would peak at 3% later this year, as the pound's slump since the Brexit vote causes price tags on everyday items to climb higher.

The ONS said the inflation rise was the result of the following factors:


Month-on-month jump in air fares in April, due to the later Easter Holidays.


Rise (between March and April) in the price of clothes, the highest level for six years.


Overall month-on-month rise of electricity.

Vehicle excise duty also contributed to the increase in the rate.

Npower and Scottish Power's decision to increase gas and electricity prices in March also had an upward impact on the headline rate.

Despite rising prices elsewhere, fuel pump prices dropped in April. Credit: PA

However, despite the price hikes from some utility companies, gas prices dropped by 0.6% over the period.

The cost of living was aided by falling fuel pump prices, with petrol dropping by 1.8p to 117.4p per litre and diesel dropping by 1.8p to 120.3p per litre.

The Retail Price Index (RPI), a separate measure of inflation which includes council tax and mortgage interest payments, reached 3.5% last month, up from 3.1% in March.