Rising fuel prices and an increase in the cost of haircuts and private dental appointments were among the factors that drove an unexpected increase in the UK inflation rate in July.
The cost of men’s haircuts rose by 6.1% in the year to July, while women’s cut and blow dries climbed by 4.5%. The price for women’s highlighting rose by almost 4%, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) pointing to costs associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) in hair salons.
The UK inflation rate rose to 1% in July, as the easing of coronavirus restrictions prompted businesses across the country to reopen. The year-on-year growth in prices was up from 0.6% in June.
Prices in the broad category of health also rose, primarily driven by a 7.4% surge in the cost of dental services. The ONS also pointed to a climb in the prices of non-NHS physiotherapy sessions.
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Price collectors reported that prices had risen, in part, as firms were forced to make their workplaces COVID-secure, in line with government guidelines.
While prices within the broad category of furniture and household goods fell overall, the cost of single beds and bath sheets increased in July.
Resilience in clothing and footwear prices, which normally fall sharply between June and July ahead of the launch of autumn product ranges, also contributed to the overall increase in the country’s inflation rate.
A surge in fuel prices was by far the biggest contributor to the increase in the inflation rate, which had been expected to hold steady at 0.6%.
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“Inflation has risen, in part, due to the largest monthly pump price increase in nearly a decade, as international oil prices rose from their lows earlier this year,” said Jonathon Athow of the ONS on Wednesday.
Petrol prices rose by 4.9p to 111.4p per litre, and diesel prices rose by 4p to 116.7p per litre, the largest increases since January 2011.
Food prices, meanwhile, fell by 0.3%, thanks to a decline in the cost of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, milk, cheese, and eggs.