UK inflation jumps to 6.2%, highest since 1992
A striking jump in inflation rates is targeting living costs in Britain.
Britain revealed on Wednesday a budget update aimed at easing a cost of living crisis, while data disclosed a spike in inflation to a three-decade high on soaring energy prices.
Annual inflation spiked from 5.5% in January to 6.2% in February, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in a statement ahead of finance minister Rishi Sunak's budget announcement.
Read more: EU states running after policies to reduce energy inflation
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak was to deliver his budget speech before parliament at about 12:45 GMT, with a pledge to "stand by" hard-working families and outline plans to help with the rising cost of living, according to the Treasury.
'Pressure' on Sunak
"The further rise in inflation... adds to the pressure on the Chancellor to offset more of the cost of living crisis," noted Capital Economics analyst Paul Dales.
It is worth noting that the last time the British inflation rate was higher was in March 1992 when it stood at 7.1%.
Across the world, countries battle surging inflation fuelled by the rocketing commodity prices over the operation in Ukraine and after nations exited pandemic lockdowns.
The Bank of England warned that inflation will surge higher as the Russian operation in Ukraine continues, sparking a major price gain for crude oil, domestic energy, and food prices.
Sunak faces widespread calls to help ease household living costs, with reports suggesting he could delay a jobs tax hike due next month.
Key factors in February's broad-based price gains are spiking domestic electricity and gas costs, according to the ONS.
Prices 'rising steeply'
"Inflation rose steeply in February as prices increased for a wide range of goods and services, for products as diverse as food to toys and games," added ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner.
"The price of goods leaving UK factories has also been rising substantially and is now at its highest rate for 14 years."
Central banks around the world to lift interest rates, including the BoE, which last week lifted borrowing costs to 0.75%, due to spiking global inflation.
Sunak has also hinted at cutting motor fuel duty to ease household budgets. However, his hands could be tied regarding major giveaways.
"The Chancellor may try to mitigate the upward pressures," noted EY economist Martin Beck.
"Measures such as a temporary cut to fuel duty would not fundamentally alter the outlook, which remains heavily dependent on geopolitical factors and global commodity markets."
The government also faces rising debt obligations on its borrowing, which has risen dramatically in the last two years due to massive epidemic expenditures.
"The Chancellor is clearly under huge pressure to fork out to help out with the cost of living crisis, but record levels of borrowing, combined with rising interest rates, will probably temper his generosity," said AJ Bell analyst Laith Khalaf.
Along with the budget declaration, the government will release its most recent official economic estimates.