West Midland business leaders expressed deep concern following today’s shock announcement that inflation has begun to edge back up after successive months of falls.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that CPI inflation rose to 2.6 per cent in July from 2.4 in June while the retail price index rose to 3.2 per cent.
Businesses in the West Midlands said the return to rising inflation was worrying and believed that among the causes were increased air fares and the gradual re-strengthening of sterling.
Michael Ward, president of Birmingham Chamber, said: "The economy has proved once again that it can fly in the face of predictions from the Bank of England, who last week cut growth forecasts and predicted that inflation would fall.
"The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England was visiting Birmingham today to talk to businesses about the impact of low interest rates although today’s figures proved that they have little control over inflation.
"So it is also important that government policies do not add to inflation or dampen demand."
Mike Ashton, spokesman for the West Midlands Chambers of Commerce, said: "Air Passenger Duty, which is set to increase year on year, has pushed prices up for people going on holiday and for business travelling abroad to find new business. Also the strengthening of the pound has increased the cost of imports."