INFLATION has risen to its highest level in a decade.

The Office for National Statistics said that the jump in consumer prices to 5.1 percent was driven by increases in the price of petrol and used cars, but affected almost all sectors of the economy.

This news coincides with the dampening economic impact of the new restrictions and public fear over the transmissibility and virulence of the Omicron variant.

And with worrying news about cancellations within the hospitality sector, businesses in Carlisle are understandably worried.

The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce (CCC) said: “The inflation position is a really worrying one for business. The inflation rates being quoted hide a much more challenging situation, as some vital cost increases are much higher than this.

“It’s a concern from two perspectives. One is the higher and increasing costs that businesses continue to face themselves – in raw materials, energy, staffing, etc.

“The second is the impact on their customers and what they can, or feel they can, buy, whether they’re other businesses or consumers."

Economists say part of the problem is that supply has not increased in line with demand, driving up prices. There are too few things to meet the demand, leading to the prices of those things to increase.

And some believe that much of the inflation is driven by consumer focus on buying goods rather than services. The abandoning of hospitality by consumers, as well as a lack of support from government, will potentially exacerbate inflation.

The CCC added: “Given the scale of the increases, it’s a really challenging one to address. I’m sure everyone is already looking at their costs and looking for cost savings and efficiencies.

“Obviously, some improvements in productivity require significant investment, but there are often others that can be achieved at little or no cost.

"Help is available through Cumbria Business Growth Hub,, both directly and through funding to support work with accountants.”