Prices are rising at their fastest rate in 40 years as higher energy bills hit millions of households.

UK inflation as measured by the consumer prices index, which is the average rate at which prices are rising, jumped to 9% in the 12 months to April, up from 7% in March.

The surge came as the price cap on energy bills rose by 54% from 1 April, the equivalent of £693 extra in energy costs for households.

Higher fuel and food prices, spurred by supply chain issues, have been caused by the Ukraine war and a surge in demand post-Covid.

Around three quarters of the rise in inflation in April came from higher electricity and gas bills, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, described the current inflation rate as "shockingly high", adding:

"Business leaders tell us that the UK macroeconomy is now their number one negative issue, driven by worries over inflation.

"As a result, firms are becoming more reluctant to invest, storing up problems for the economy in future."

The Bank of England wrote earlier this month (May) that it expects inflation to peak at 10.25% by the end of the year.

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