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British inflation soars to six-year high

By AFP, London
13th-Dec-2017       
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British inflation has hit its highest level in almost six years, official data showed Tuesday, forcing Bank of England governor Mark Carney to explain the rise in an exceptional letter.
The Consumer Price Index climbed to 3.1 percent on a 12-month basis in November compared to 3.0 percent in October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
Analysts' consensus forecast had been for no change to the CPI reading.
Carney must send a letter to British finance minister Philip Hammond, explaining why inflation overshot the Bank of England's 2.0-percent target rate by more than one percentage point.
The open letter, which must outline what action the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee is taking to return inflation to target, will be published by the bank in February.
Such a letter was last published a year ago, after inflation fell by more than one percentage point below target in October 2016.
The headline measure for November this year was spurred on by the high price of air fares, recreational goods and the rising cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks, the ONS said.
It said that rising prices of computer games had a notable upward effect and higher transport prices were fuelled by the rise in Brent oil prices and a falling pound.
"Christmas dinner is going to be a lot more expensive this year," said Frances O'Grady, head of the TUC umbrella body for unions. "Food prices have gone up at twice the rate of wages."
Average wage growth continues to lag behind the rise in prices, meaning that real pay packets are falling.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride said she recognised families were "feeling the squeeze".
"We are determined to help," she added, pointing to recent pay-boosting measures by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Theresa May.

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