Soaring air fares contributed to the UK’s rate of inflation remaining higher than expected last month.
The Office for National Statistics confirmed that the Consumer Princes Index (CPI) level rose by 8.7% in the 12 months to May – unchanged from April.
Air fares rose by 20% between April and May this year, compared with a smaller rise of 2.8% between the same two months a year ago.
The largest upward effect came from European routes.
The ONS said: “The position of Easter may have influenced the movements in fares. This year, April prices were collected after Easter and may have resulted in a relatively low April figure published last month.
“Last year, April’s price collection spanned the Easter period and resulted in a relatively high April figure. In turn, these might partly explain the larger rise between April and May this year relative to a year ago.”
It added: “Rising prices for air travel, recreational and cultural goods and services, and second-hand cars resulted in the largest upward contributions.
“Prices for recreational and cultural goods and services rose, overall, by 6.8% in the year to May 2023, up from 6.4% in April, and the highest rate since August 1991.
“The increase in the annual rate between April and May 2023 was the result of small upward effects from a variety of the more detailed classes.
“The largest came from cultural services (particularly admission fees to live music events); games, toys and hobbies (particularly computer games); and package holidays.”