Tuition fees blamed for ‘nasty surprise’ of jump in inflation

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Consumers are feeling a fresh squeeze on living costs after figures revealed a shock jump in the UK’s annual inflation rate to 2.7 per cent.

The leap in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) was described by one City economist as a “nasty surprise” and came just a month after inflation fell back to a near three-year low of 2.2 per cent in September.

A near trebling in university tuition fees and a hike in food prices were blamed for the increase.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) put pressure on the Bank of England, which is due to publish its latest growth and inflation forecasts today. It had predicted CPI would fall back to 2 per cent by the end of the year.

The ONS said the biggest factor pushing up CPI was the Government’s move to lift the tuition fees cap in England and Wales to £9,000 from £3,375 a year ago, which saw education costs rise by 19.1 per cent last month – the largest increase since records began.