ONS July figure is only fourth time in 70 years that inflation has breached 10%
UK inflation has risen above 10% for the first time in 40 years, driven by soaring prices for food and fuel as households come under mounting pressure from the cost of living crisis.
The Office for National Statistics said the consumer prices index rose by 10.1% in the year to July, up from a reading of 9.4% in June and entering double figures at an earlier stage than anticipated. The figure was last higher in February 1982.
It is only the fourth time in 70 years that inflation has breached the 10% threshold, the other periods being 1951-52, 1973-77 and 1979-82.
The reading exceeded the 9.8% forecast from City economists, as the cost of food and drink rose at the highest rates since 2008 amid a broad-based inflationary burst across the economy.
The biggest increases came for bread and cereals, dairy, meat and vegetables, with the rising cost of food leading to record increases for restaurant and hotel prices and pushing up the cost of takeaways. Price rises for other staple items such as pet food, toilet rolls, toothbrushes and deodorants also sent inflation soaring.
Prices for package holidays and air fares rose sharply, driven by a summer rush reflected in packed airports across the country.
The latest figures will pile renewed pressure on the government and Conservative leadership candidates amid accusations the frontrunner, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, are failing to grasp the scale of the cost of living emergency.
Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said soaring prices were leaving families worried about how to make ends meet in the run-up to a difficult winter. “People are worried sick, and while the Tories are busy fighting and ignoring the scale of this crisis. Only Labour can give Britain the fresh start it needs,” she said.