LONDON (Reuters) – More British manufacturers plan to raise prices in the next three months than at any point since 1976, according to a survey on Tuesday that highlighted the inflationary forces that are buffeting the economy.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said a net balance of +77% of manufacturers surveyed this month planned to raise prices, up from +66% in January – the highest reading since December 1976, a year of financial crisis in Britain.

The survey also showed a net balance of +20% of factories reporting rising orders, down from +24% in January. While this was the weakest reading for four months, it was still well above the survey’s long-run average.

“Manufacturers will be buoyed by strong order books and output growth, but amid ongoing cost pressures, almost four in five firms expect to increase prices in the next three months,” said CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach.

She urged finance minister Rishi Sunak to use his spring budget statement, due next month, to do more to help manufacturers.

The official annual rate of consumer price inflation rose to 5.5% in January, the highest since March 1992.

The Bank of England this month predicted that inflation will peak at around 7.25% in April, when household energy bills are due to rise by more than half.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Kevin Liffey)