How does inflation in the UK compare to the EU?

·3 min read
EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY MARCH 30 File photo dated 22/07/09 of a shopper in a supermarket. Shop price inflation has hit its highest rate since September 2011 amid warnings to consumers that the full impact of mounting costs is yet to be seen. Issue date: Wednesday March 30, 2022.
Inflation is at its highest level in the UK for 40 years. (PA)

Inflation in the UK has continued to increase, the latest figures have shown.

Inflation, the rate at which prices rise, increased to 9.1% in the 12 months to May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Wednesday, its highest level for 40 years.

The rate of consumer prices index (CPI) inflation rose slightly from 9% in April to 9.1% in May, according to the data.

Soaring prices for energy and fuel have left the UK gripped in a cost of living crisis, and the warnings are that things are about to get worse, with the energy price cap predicted to go up this autumn by 42%, according to energy regulator Ofgem, to about £2,800.

Watch: Chancellor insists government are acting to combat rising inflation

UK inflation is rising to record levels, but how does it compare with our neighbours in the European Union?

How does UK inflation compare to the EU?

Inflation in the UK is slightly higher than the EU as a whole, according to the most recent figures from Eurostat, the data office of the European Union.

The annual inflation rate in the EU was 8.8% in May, up from 8.1% in April.

But just one year earlier, this rate was only 2.3%, an indication of how prices have soared in that period.

(Yahoo News UK)
(Yahoo News UK)

A report published on Wednesday claimed Brexit had worsened the rate of inflation in the UK.

The Resolution Foundation think tank said pay packets will be £470 lower per worker every year by 2030 than they would have been if the UK had remained in the EU.

The report said UK households had experienced an annual £870 increase to their cost of living as a result of Brexit.

Read more: Energy scams jump 10% as fraudsters exploit cost of living crisis

It said this was because of the pound dropping in value in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum, with sterling settling at more than 12% below its previous level a year after.

This in turn pushed up the price of imports, deepening inflation in the UK, the think tank said.

Which EU countries have the highest inflation?

According to the Eurostat figures, the highest annual inflation rates in the EU were recorded in Estonia (20.1%), Lithuania (18.5%) and Latvia (16.8%).

The lowest annual rates were registered in France, Malta (both 5.8%) and Finland (7.1%).

(Yahoo News UK)
(Yahoo News UK)

Compared with April, annual inflation fell in one EU member state and rose in 26, Eurostat said.

The British government has come under fire this week for telling people not to ask for pay rises at the same time as promising a rise in the state pension.

Read more: UK retail sales fall as price rises force people to cut food shopping

In the week of a nationwide rail strike, Downing Street said pay rises in line with inflation for public sector workers are not “feasible” as they would further stoke soaring costs.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman said: “The prime minister said the public would expect the government to stick within their means at a time of global cost-of-living pressures."

Watch: Inflation rises again to new 40-year high