The cost of living increased by 5.1 percent in the year to November, up from 4.2 percent the previous month and reaching its highest level since September 2011.
The rise was driven by higher transportation and energy costs, which exceeded forecasts of a 4.7 percent increase, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
More expensive fuel, energy, clothing, and used cars, according to its chief economist Grant Fitzner, were major factors.
He also mentioned that the cost of raw materials had risen significantly.
Global supply chain issues, staff shortages, and rapid demand for oil and gas have all pushed up prices. The end of Covid support schemes and Brexit have also played a role.
In November, petrol prices reached an all-time high of 145.8p per litre, while the cost of used cars rose due to a shortage of new vehicles.
A global shortage of computer chips used in new cars has resulted in a vehicle shortage, increasing demand in the used car market.
Even before Wednesday’s figures, the food and beverage industry had warned that the rising cost of raw materials and ingredients was having a “terrifying” impact on consumer prices.
Prices are rising at the fastest rate in a decade, 13 years if the ONS’ preferred measure, which includes owner-occupier housing costs, is used.
Inflation has risen above 5% faster than expected by the Bank of England and others, on track to exceed 5.5 percent by the spring, and it is expected to remain above the Bank’s 2 percent target for the next two years.
All of this reflects our collective experience in gas stations, supermarkets, and department stores. The impact on living standards is significant, with real incomes likely to fall again.
Given the economic uncertainty surrounding the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, an interest rate increase on Thursday is not a foregone conclusion.
The main source of economic uncertainty for the Bank and the Treasury is now what happens in companies and unions in terms of wage setting.
When combined with ongoing labor shortages, there is a lot of pressure on businesses to give significant wage increases in the coming year.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that he supports such a move, the fear of a spiral of rising wages and prices is precisely what would force the Bank of England to raise interest rates faster than currently anticipated over the next year.
Given the lack of expected relief from rising energy prices and taxes, an interest rate hike in the coming months, and ongoing Omicron restrictions, the outlook for early 2022 remains challenging for consumers and businesses.