Latest inflation sticks at 4.5%
Inflation remained at a two-and-a-half-year high in May, official figures have revealed, as rising food, drink and fuel prices added to the squeeze on household spending.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation remained at 4.5% last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
It is the 18th month in a row that inflation has been above the Bank of England's target of 2%, continuing the pain for cash-strapped consumers.
Upward pressure on inflation came from food prices, which rose 1.3% between April and May, while alcohol and tobacco prices increased 0.7% over the month, driven higher by hikes in duty and VAT.
The price motorists paid at the pumps rose to a record high of £1.36p per litre for petrol and £1.42p for diesel.
However, these inflationary pressures were largely offset by a decline in transport costs, which had been higher the previous month as airfares shot up amid the flurry of bank holidays caused by Easter and the royal wedding.
The announcement will keep pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates from their record low of 0.5% in a bid to beat down inflation.