The Consumer Prices Index, which is used by the government to measure the annual inflation rate, rose to 3.4% last month (March). It was 3% in February. The increased price of petrol and diesel, and the knock-on effects of this on other sectors, is blamed for the increase. Also, the bad weather in January forced the price of certain produce up, as some vegetables became more scarce as a result.
By comparison, the Retail Prices Index, (the Index referenced with regard to index-linked financial products, like pensions and benefits,) was 4.4% in March, up from 3.7% in February. This is affected by the same factors as the CPI, but is also influenced by housing prices and mortgage interest payments.
Economists do not yet know the consequences of the inflationary pressure that may result from the current problems with air travel. Shortages of some imports are adversely affecting business, and may well result in increased prices. Prior to these problems, the expectation was for a slight reduction in inflation.
Source: Office for National Statistics 20/4/10