Energy suppliers' decision to raise gas and electricity prices has significantly contributed to the latest increase in inflation, according to a currency expert.
Mark Bolsom, head of the UK trading desk at Travelex, claimed that the 3.4 per cent rise in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in March was mainly caused by higher energy prices and a weak pound.
Forecasts had originally suggested that the CPI would rise to 3.1 per cent last month, but increases in the cost of petrol, gas and food exceeded expectations.
With the general election looming, Mr Bolsom urged the UK's main political parties to provide direction about how they intend to counteract high energy prices if they are elected into power.
He said: "This data adds to the confusing economic outlook. On the one hand, we need a weaker pound to boost our export-led growth, but on the other hand, the UK is an import-based economy."
Last week, the government ruled out a Competition Commission inquiry into the discrepancy between price cuts implemented by major energy suppliers and falling wholesale prices.
If you want to find out more about your energy options and how you could save up to £378 in minutes, click here.