The rate of Consumer Prices Index inflation increased to 9% in April from 7% in March, the Office for National Statistics has said.
It was the fastest measured rate since records began in 1989, and the ONS estimates it was the highest since 1982.
A large portion of the rise was due to the price cap on energy bills, which was hiked by 54% for the average household at the start of April.
Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: “Inflation rose steeply in April, driven by the sharp climb in electricity and gas prices as the higher price cap came into effect.
“Around three-quarters of the increase in the annual rate this month came from utility bills.
“We have also published new modelled historical estimates today which show that CPI annual inflation was last higher 40 years ago.
“Steep annual rises in the cost of metals, chemicals and crude oil also continued, along with higher prices for goods leaving factory gates.
“This was driven by increases for food products, transport equipment and metals, machinery and equipment.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Countries around the world are dealing with rising inflation.
“Today’s inflation numbers are driven by the energy price cap rise in April, which in turn is driven by higher global energy prices.
“We cannot protect people completely from these global challenges but are providing significant support where we can, and stand ready to take further action.
“We’re saving the average worker £330 a year through reducing National Insurance Contributions, changing Universal Credit to save over a million families around £1,000 a year, and providing millions of families with £350 each this year to help with their energy bills.”
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the rate of inflation hitting 9% in April would be “a huge worry for families already stretched”.
“We can’t wait any longer for action from this out of touch government,” she said.
“Today, Labour force a vote for an Emergency Budget and for a plan for growth.
“The Tories must back it.”