The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed today that UK inflation has risen to 9% amid the growing cost of living crisis.
This is the highest it has been for 40 years.
The data released by the ONS today showed prices hiked across a broad range of everyday goods and services during April, but almost three-quarters of this inflation rise was said to be accounted for by the unprecedented 54% increase in the energy price cap – which kicked in at the start of the month.
Millions of people across the UK saw an unprecedented £693-a-year rise in energy costs last month when the a higher energy price cap was introduced.
The energy price cap – which is the mechanism that outlines the maximum amount that companies can charge to provide energy – has been credited with protecting around 22 million UK households from the worst of the price hikes after COVID-19 restrictions were eased and the war in Ukraine pushed up wholesale gas prices.
The cap also prevented companies from passing on unprecedented increases to their customers.
But the average bill rose by 54%, or £693 annually, from April to £1,971, and the latest forecasts suggest bills could rise to almost £2,600 in October when the next price cap adjustment is due.
Record high prices for both petrol and diesel were other major factors in the inflation rise.
Speaking on the price hikes, Grant Fitzner – Chief Economist at the 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… [and] steep annual rises in the cost of metals, chemicals and crude oil also continued, along with higher prices for goods leaving factory gates,” he added.
“This was driven by increases for food products, transport equipment and metals, machinery and equipment.”
The Bank of England has also released updated forecasts earlier this month that suggest inflation will top 10% later this year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the government “stands ready to take further action” in response to the rise in inflation, explaining in a statement today: “Countries around the world are dealing with rising inflation [and] 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.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.