UK inflation shot up unexpectedly last month as vegetable shortages pushed food prices to their highest rate in more than 45 years, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 10.4% in February from 10.1% in January.
Most economists were expecting CPI to fall to 9.9% in February.
The surprise jump in inflation comes after food and non-alcoholic drinks prices rose by 18% year-on-year last month, up from 16.7% in January and the highest since August 1977.
Shortages of vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers in recent weeks were largely behind the rocketing food inflation.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that “falling inflation isn’t inevitable”.
“So we need to stick to our plan to halve it this year,” he said.
“We recognise just how tough things are for families across the country, so as we work towards getting inflation under control we will help families with cost-of-living support worth £3,300 on average per household this year.”
Boris Johnson faces a televised grilling by MPs investigating claims he knowingly misled Parliament over the “partygate” affair in a hearing which could determine his future as a MP. The former prime minister is expected to be questioned for around four hours by the Commons Privileges Committee over his denials of No 10 parties during the pandemic in violation of lockdown rules. If he is found to have deliberately misled […]