Inflation goes up to 2.9% as fuel and clothing costs rise

The increasing cost of fuel and clothing caused inflation to rebound last month, further impacting on cash-strapped households struggling with low wage growth.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released figures showing that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation was 2.9% in August, outstripping the predictions of 2.8%.

June and July saw a momentary pause as inflation stayed at 2.6%, but it now equals levels from May this year and June 2013.

The news was a boost for the sterling, seeing it go up 0.7% against the dollar at 1.32%.

Mike Prestwood, ONS head of inflation, said: "Clothing prices rising faster than last year, along with a hike in the cost of petrol, helped nudge inflation upwards.

"Conversely, these effects were partially offset by airfares, which rose more slowly than during last year's summer holidays."

Clothing and footwear prices climbed to their highest level since official records began at 4.6% year-on-year in August.

During the month of August, clothing and footwear rose 2.4% following a slight hike of 1% between July and August last year.

This was partly down to the rising costs of imports caused by the sterling slump following the Brexit vote.

The ONS added: "The increase in clothing price inflation may be partly associated with the lagged response to the depreciation of sterling during 2016 as supply contracts with overseas producers may now be renewed on different terms."

The exchange rate has also been a factor. Credit: PA

A Treasury spokesman said: "We know some families have concerns with their day-to-day cost of living.

"That's why we are boosting take-home pay with tax cuts for over 30 million people and a National Living Wage that is giving the lowest earners their fastest pay rise for 20 years."

Motor fuels were also pushing the overall cost of living higher, with fuels and lubricants rising 1.6% month-on-month in August following a 1.3% fall last year.

The price of petrol rose by 1.8p a litre to 115.7p in August, while diesel picked up by 2p to 117.6p.

However, downward pressure came from airfares, which saw smaller hikes between July and August at 10.9%, compared to a 14.4% monthly jump in 2016.

The Bank of England is predicting CPI to peak at around 3% in October, higher than its target of 2%.

Governor Mark Carney warned last month that the pressure on families would continue for the next few quarters.

Households have seen their spending power diminish as wage growth tracks below inflation.

Previously announced figures from the ONS show annual growth in wages, both including and excluding bonuses, grew by 2.1% for April to June.