The UK's inflation rate climbs to 3.5 per cent

Higher food prices and clothing costs drive unexpected rise on the consumer price index.

Sterling notes and coins. Credit: Getty Images

The UK’s rating on the all-items consumer price index (CPI), which measures changes in the prices of consumer goods and services, reached 122.2 in March 2012, an increase of 3.4 per cent compared to 121.8 the previous month.

The annual rate for CPI excluding indirect taxes, CPIY, was 3.5 per cent.

The CPI all-goods index was 118.7, up from 118.2 in February, while the CPI all-services index was 126.5, also up from February’s 126.2.

The largest upward effects came from food and non-alcoholic beverages, where overall prices fell by 0.5 per cent; and clothing and footwear, where prices rose by 2.2 per cent. In recreation and culture, prices fell by 0.1 per cent.

The largest downward effects came from housing, household services and transport.

The all-items retail price index (RPI), which measures the change in the cost of a basket of retail goods and services, reached 240.8 (based on January 1987 as 100) in March, a decrease of 3.7 per cent compared to 239.9 a month earlier.

The largest downward pressures to this change came from motoring expenditure and fuel and light, while upward pressures came from food and clothing.

Average house prices in the UK increased by 0.3 per cent over the year to February 2012. The average UK mix-adjusted house price in February 2012 was £224,473.

In the 12 months to February 2012, average house prices increased in both England and Scotland by 0.4 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively, while house prices declined by 0.5 per cent and 9.7 per cent in Wales and Northern Ireland.