UK inflation hits 30-year high of 6.2% as Sunak readies response

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LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) – British inflation hit a 30-year high of 6.2% last month, at the top end of expectations among analysts, according to data published on Wednesday hours before finance minister Rishi Sunak announces how he will help ease a cost-of-living crisis.

The median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of 5.9%. Only three of the 39 respondents had expected such a strong reading.

The Office for National Statistics highlighted household energy bills and petrol as the biggest drivers of inflation in February.

The ONS said consumer prices rose by 0.8% in month-on-month terms, marking the biggest February rise since 2009.

Last week, the Bank of England raised its forecast for inflation to peak above 8% – more than four times its target – during the April-June period. Regulated household energy bills jump by more than half next month.

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