Commenting on the inflation statistics for March 2022, published today by the Office for National Statistics, Head of Economics at the BCC Suren Thiru, said:
“The latest data confirms that the UK is in the midst of an unprecedented inflationary surge amid accelerating global price pressures, including from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The largest upward contributions to March’s rise in inflation were from the increasing cost of housing and household services, including higher utility bills, rising fuel prices and more costly second-hand cars.
“March’s increase should be followed by a significant uptick in April, with the increase in the energy price cap and the reversal of the VAT reduction for hospitality in the month likely to push inflation above 8%.
“The upward pressure on energy and commodity prices from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will drive consumer prices higher for longer with inflation likely peak close to 10% later this year, following the expected energy price cap rise in October.
“Soaring inflation has raised the prospect of a notable slump in economic output in the near term by weakening consumer spending and damaging firms’ finances and their ability to invest and grow.
“The Government must provide urgent financial support, through the expansion of the energy bills rebate scheme, to include small firms and energy intensive businesses, and an SME energy price cap to protect smaller firms from some of the price increases.”