UK inflation among highest in Europe

The UK has the highest level of inflation in Western Europe and only three countries in the EU have a higher rate, according to the office of statistics the EU, Eurostat.

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics announced the CPI annual inflation rate in the UK rose to 4.4 per cent in February, its highest level since 2008.

EU annual inflation figures for February, released today, show the UK has overtaken Greece, which saw inflation of 4.2 per cent.

Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania are the only countries with higher inflation rates at 5.5 per cent, 4.6 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.

Annual inflation for the EU as a whole is well below the UK at 2.8 per cent and in the Eurozone it is even lower at 2.4 per cent.

During a speech at the Confederation of British Industry’s annual lunch in Suffolk yesterday, MPC external member Andrew Sentence said he believes CPI inflation could rise above 5 per cent this year.

He said: “We have heard the news that CPI inflation has risen again, to 4.4 per cent, and it could easily rise to 5 per cent later this year.

“In this environment, with inflation running very considerably above its target level and set to rise further, failure to take monetary policy action risks a more abrupt and destabilising rise in interest rates in the future.”