UK Inflation Fastest Pace in 30 Years

LONDON (AP) -- British consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in 30 years last month, fueled by soaring prices for household energy and motor fuels, the government statistics agency reported Wednesday.

U.K. inflation accelerated to 7% in the 12 months through March, the highest annual rate since March 1992, the Office for National Statistics said.

The U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday that its consumer price index jumped 8.5% last month.

The U.K. faces what economists say will be the biggest drop in living standards since the mid-1950s as rocketing energy costs, rising food prices and tax increases overshadow rising wages.

Disposable household incomes, adjusted for inflation, are expected to drop by 2.2% this year, according to the government's independent budget adviser.

Household natural gas prices jumped 28.3% over the last year, and electricity prices rose 19.2% as the global economy recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing worldwide demand for energy.

Prices will continue to rise after Britain's energy regulator authorized a 54% increase in gas and electricity bills for millions of households that took effect in April.

Transportation costs are also rising, with the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel rising by an average of 30.7% over the past year, the biggest increase since current records began in January 1989, the Office for National Statistics said.