Inflation increased in December, starting what is expected to be a climb this year as pandemic-fighting measures, Brexit and a recovery in the economy combine to push up costs for consumers and businesses.

Prices rose 0.6% in annual terms after a 0.3% increase in November, the Office for National Statistics said fuelled by a temporary easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions helped to push up air and sea fares while a rise in global oil prices made fuel more expensive and the price of clothes also rose.

Prices at petrol pumps rose by 1.5 pence per litre.

Price movements “have been unusual” in 2020 “and appear to have been affected by the impact of coronavirus”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

“The overall price rises in December 2020 follow increased discounting in November 2020, as Black Friday sales may have spread further across the month,” it added.

The ONS said factory gate prices fell last month by the least in annual terms since March, down 0.4%, and the measure for core output prices rose by the most since September 2019, up 1.2%.

Inflation remains well below the Bank of England’s 2% target but experts think it will climb higher later in the year.


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