After falling to 2.2 per cent in September, inflation — as measured by the Consumer Prices Index — rose to 2.7 per cent in October. On the Retail Prices Index, inflation rose from 2.6 per cent to 3.2 per cent.
The main cause of the rise is the government’s changes to university tuition fees, which put the maximum annual fee up to £9,000. Today’s figures are the first to include the effects of the policy — with the education index 19.7 per cent higher than last year.
But food prices were up too — by 0.5 per cent on last month and 3.3 per cent on last year. The good news — unusually — comes from energy bills. Gas prices in October were unchanged from September, and 1 per cent lower than in October last year. Electricity prices fell by 0.4 per cent from September to October, making a total drop of 2.3 per cent since October 2011. But the ONS cautions that ‘the widely reported price increases for many utility bills were not introduced in time to impact on the October index’ — suggesting next month’s figures will be worse.