UK hounded by worst inflation in Western Europe

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Official figures released on Wednesday indicated that inflation in the United Kingdom was over 10% year on year in March, the highest rate among Western European countries.

The consumer price index (CPI) in the United Kingdom decreased by less than expected in March, to 10.1%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), when economists predicted a decline to 9.8%. Year over year, the February reading was 10.4%.

“The largest upward contributions to the annual CPIH inflation rate in March 2023 came from housing and household services (principally from electricity, gas, and other fuels), and food and non-alcoholic beverages,” according to the ONS.

Food prices grew at the quickest rate in 45 years in March, with the greatest rises in items such as olive oil (up 49%) and milk (up 38%) reported.

Britain is now the only Western European country with double-digit inflation. According to Reuters data, Austria is second at 9.2%, followed by Italy at 8.2%. Spain had the lowest CPI among the 14 Western European countries (3.1%).