Inflation has hit 4.4 per cent, more than twice the Government’s 2 per cent target and up by the highest amount since the Consumer Prices Index began in 1997.

The figure represents a 0.6 per cent jump from the 3.8 per cent figure recorded in June and was driven by increases in the price of food primarily.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages drove the upward pressure, with price inflation up to 12.3 per cent in July from 9.5 per cent in June.

Food inflation has grown to a Consumer Prices Index record 13.7 per cent compared with last year, a rise from 10.6 per cent in June. The rise in the cost of meats was 16.3 per cent year on year, up from 11.2 per cent in June.

Breads, cereals and vegetables also ramped up the pressure, with breads and cereals price inflation increasing to 15.9 per cent, up from 11.9 per cent in June. Vegetables soared to 11.1 per cent from 7.4 per cent.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation rose to 5 per cent in July, against a 4.6 per cent rise in June. The CPI said that house depreciation made a large contribution to the downward pressure on the RPI.

Petrol increased 1.2p a litre in the month to 118.8p, compared with a 0.4p fall last year. Diesel prices rose 1.8p a litre in the month to 132.3p a litre, against a 0.4p fall last year.