Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
19 January 2022

How inflation has surged to its highest level since 1992

The cost of living in the UK rose by 5.4 per cent in the year to December 2021.

By Katharine Swindells

The cost of living in the UK rose by more than 5 per cent in 2021, the fastest monthly growth in almost 30 years.

The latest release of the Consumer Price Index shows that inflation rose from to 5.4 per cent in the 12 months to December 2021, up from 5.1 per cent in November. This is the highest since March 1992, and higher than the peaks before and after the 2008 financial crisis. 

The surge in the cost of living was mostly driven by rising housing costs, notably a significant rise in gas and electricity prices following the increase in the energy price cap in October. Experts estimate that household energy bills could increase by another 75 per cent in 2022 to more than £2,200 per year.

There was also significant growth in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, restaurants and hotels, and furniture and household goods.

The Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady warned the rise in inflation would worst affect low-income families, and called for the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to present a plan to tackle the crisis.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
The shrinking road to net zero
The tree-planting misconception
Is your business ready for corporate climate reporting?
Topics in this article: