UK inflation picks up as clothing prices rise

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Dan Mullan

The UK’s inflation rate rose to 0.6% in June as the coronavirus lockdown began to ease.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) picked up slightly from 0.5% in May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Food and alcohol prices fell, but prices for clothing and games rose, the ONS said.

Despite the slight increase in the rate, inflation remains below the Bank of England’s 2% target.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The inflation rate has increased for the first time this year, but remains low by historical standards.

“Due to the impact of the coronavirus, clothing prices have not followed the usual seasonal pattern this year, with the normal falls due to the start of the summer sales failing to materialise.

“Prices for computer games and consoles have risen, but food prices, particularly vegetables, have fallen.”

Men’s clothing in particular rose in price, with increases coming “across almost the full range”, the ONS said.

Women’s clothing showed “a more mixed picture across the different products”, but with the overall effect still upward.

Games, toys and hobbies, particularly computer games and computer games consoles, made the biggest contribution to the inflation rise, the ONS said.

“It is possible that prices have been influenced by the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown changing the timing of demand and the availability of some items, particularly consoles,” the ONS added.