UK inflation has increased unexpectedly and for the first time since February last year after rises in tobacco and alcohol prices, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 4% in December, up from 3.9% in November.
Most economists had expected the rate to edge lower to 3.8%.
It comes after tobacco duty increased last November, with alcohol also driving inflation higher, which offset further falls in food prices.
Grant Fitzner, ONS chief economist, said: “The rate of inflation ticked up a little in December, with rises in tobacco prices due to recently-introduced duty increases.
“These were partially offset by falling food inflation, where prices still rose but at a much lower rate than this time last year.”
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