UK inflation has hit its highest level in more than 40 years in April after soaring gas and electricity bills pushed prices up 9 per cent on a year earlier.

The rate of consumer price inflation was close to economists’ expectations and is almost double the rate the Bank of England expected six months ago.

With economic activity slowing sharply during the first quarter of the year, the UK economy is suffering its worst bout of stagflation — weak growth alongside high inflation — since the second oil shock of the 1970s. 

The sharp rise in the cost of living will add to pressure on chancellor Rishi Sunak to accelerate his promised measures to help poorer families and pensioners cope with prices rising much faster than their incomes.

This is a developing story.

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