The rate of inflation rose once more in May, remaining at 40-year highs, the Office for National Statistics has said.

Statisticians said that the rate of consumer prices index (CPI) inflation rose from 9% in April to 9.1% in May.

The increase matches what analysts had expected as rates continue to rise.

“Though still at historically high levels, the annual inflation rate was little changed in May,” said ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner.

“Continued steep food price rises and record high petrol prices were offset by clothing costs rising by less than this time last year, and a drop in often fluctuating computer games prices.

“The price of goods leaving factories rose at their fastest rate in 45 years, driven by widespread food price rises, while the cost of raw materials leapt at their fastest rate on record.”

Inflation rose from 7% in March to 9% in April. This the fastest measured rate since records began in 1989, and the ONS estimates it was the highest since 1982.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: (PA)(PA)

The news will add to the difficulties faced by many people across the UK.

Energy bills have risen by 54% for the average household since the beginning of April and will remain at this level until October.

Will inflation go up again?

But forecasts released this week predict that the Government cap on energy bills could rise again from an already record high £1,971 to £2,980 in the autumn.

The Bank of England has predicted that inflation will spike at more than 11% in October after the price cap is changed again.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Today’s rising inflation is another milestone for people watching wages, growth and living standards continue to plummet.

“Though rapid inflation is pushing family finances to the brink, the low wage spiral faced by many in Britain isn’t new.

“Over the last decade, Tory mismanagement of our economy has meant living standards and real wages have failed to grow.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I know that people are worried about the rising cost of living, which is why we have taken targeted action to help families, getting £1,200 to the eight million most vulnerable households.

“We are using all the tools at our disposal to bring inflation down and combat rising prices – we can build a stronger economy through independent monetary policy, responsible fiscal policy which doesn’t add to inflationary pressures, and by boosting our long-term productivity and growth."