British consumer price inflation hit a new 40-year high of 9.1 per cent last month, the highest rate among the Group of Seven nations and highlighting the severity of the cost-of-living crisis. Rising food prices were a significant factor in this uptick.

The reading, which increased from 9.0 per cent in April, was in line with the consensus of economists surveyed by Reuters. May’s inflation was the highest since March 1982, according to historical data from the Office for National Statistics, and it’s likely to get worse.

“Rising inflation is putting further pressure on policymakers to ease the burden on households, while complicating the Bank of England’s task,” Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said.


Prior to reaching a peak of just above 11 per cent in October, when regulated household energy bills are scheduled to rise once more, the Bank of England predicted last week that inflation would likely remain above 9 per cent over the upcoming months.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak responded to the information by saying that the British government is doing everything it can to stop a rise in prices.

Food and non-alcoholic goods saw the largest annual price increase since March 2009 in May, rising 8.7 per cent, making this sector the main driver of annual inflation in that month.

The ONS reported that overall consumer prices increased by 0.7 per cent in monthly terms in May, slightly higher than the 0.6 per cent consensus.

In May, Britain had a higher headline inflation rate than the US, France, Germany, and Italy. Although Japan and Canada have not yet provided data on consumer prices for May, neither is probably going to come close.