Almost £200 ayear will be added to household bills after Scottish Power last night announced gas tariffs  will rise by 19 per cent, with electricity up 10 per cent.

The move – which ananlysts say will be followed by rival companies – will add an average of £187 to annual bills – a dual fuel contract paid by casgh or cheque will now cost  an average of £1,398.

It comes as a report reveals food prices are rising at their fastest rate in two years – 4.9 per cent. Air passengers, meanwhile, face an 8 per cent hike in fares caused by soaring oil prices and taxes.

The fuel and food rises are imposing the biggest squeeze on household budgets in almost 100 years.

They are sure to prompt a fresh surge in inflation which is already running at 4.5 per cent. This, in turn, will lead to pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates which have been at an historic low for the last two years.

Scottish Power, which has 2.4million customers many of whom live in England, is owned by the Spanish conglomerate Iberdrola. The sheer scale of its price rises massively outpace increases in wages and pensions, so piling pressure on families.