UK inflation rises to 4% in December

17 Jan 2024

UK inflation rose to 4% in the year to December, according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

That is a rise from 3.9% recorded in November and higher than economists expected.

It is the first time the rate has increased since February 2023.

The ONS says that tobacco and alcohol had the biggest impact on prices rises. Tobacco prices saw an annual increase of 16.0% last month, while alcohol had a smaller rise at 9.6%.

At the other end of the scale, the annual inflation rate on food and non-alcoholic beverages saw the biggest fall in the latest period, dropping to 8% in December from 9.2% in November.

It marked the ninth consecutive fall, after hitting a high of 19.2% in March 2023.

David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 'For consumers, prices continue to rise from a very high base. The current global picture means the path ahead is now more uncertain.

'One of the core reasons for the last two years of inflation was supply chain collapse due to Covid-19 lockdowns, and current disruption in the Red Sea has already seen a spike in leading indicators such as shipping container and insurance costs.

'Businesses are increasingly desperate for a clear, long-term strategy which delivers on infrastructure, trade, skills and green innovation to grow the economy.'