Consumer prices rose by 6.2 percent in February after a 5.5-percent rise in January, its highest rate since March 1992.

Household energy bills and petrol were the biggest drivers of inflation in February.
Household energy bills and petrol were the biggest drivers of inflation in February. (Reuters Archive)

British inflation hit a 30-year high with 6.2 percent last month, shooting up faster than expected and worsening a historic squeeze on household finances.

That was according to official data published on Wednesday, hours before finance minister Rishi Sunak was set to announce how he would help ease a cost-of-living crisis.

The near three-decade peak was a jump from 5.5 percent in January, its highest rate since March 1992, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement ahead of Sunak's budget announcement.

Sunak will aim to show at 1230 GMT that he is helping Britons through the worst cost-of-living squeeze in decades.

The ONS highlighted household energy bills and petrol as the biggest drivers of inflation in February. Regulated household energy bills jumped by more than half next month. 

'Upward pressure on inflation'

"Energy, motor fuels and used cars have put strong upward pressure on inflation while food prices have also risen," the ONS said.

Consumer prices rose by 0.8 percent in month-on-month terms, marking the biggest February rise since 2009, the ONS added.

Last week, the Bank of England raised its forecast for inflation to peak above 8 percent – more than four times its target – during the April-June period.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said the figures added pressure on the Bank of England to keep on raising interest rates, but she said it was still likely that price growth would peak before long.

"Provided inflation expectations can be managed and global commodity prices stabilise by next year, we should see inflation returning to the Bank of England's 2 percent target by mid-2024," Selfin said.

"This may require fewer rate rises than markets currently anticipate."

READ MORE: UK inflation hits almost three-decade high as living costs soar

Source: TRTWorld and agencies