The Office for National Statistics (ONS) today released figures showing an increase in consumer prices index (CPI) annual inflation in January, largely a result of higher petrol prices.

The ONS said that CPI annual inflation increased from 2.1 per cent in December to 2.2 per cent in January, exceeding the Governments target of 2 per cent.

According to the ONS the largest contributor to higher inflation was rising petrol prices. In January average petrol prices rose by 1.3 pence to 103.9 pence per litre. Last year in the same period petrol prices fell by 0.8 pence.

Food prices, especially for fruit like grapes and grapefruit, also had a significant upward effect on the level of inflation as prices did not fall by as much as in the previous year.

Inflation was reigned in to a degree by clothes prices, which fell by more than they did last year.

The ONS said that retail prices index (RPI) inflation increased from 4.0 per cent in December to 4.1 per cent in January. The reasons for the increase were also attributed to the effects of petrol and food prices.

Mortgage interest payments exerted a downward pressure on RPI inflation. RPIX inflation (all items RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) was 3.4 per cent in January, up from 3.1 per cent in December.