Official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation in the UK unexpectedly rose to 10.4% in February, up from 10.1% in January. Most economists had predicted a fall to 9.9% for the month.
The surge in inflation is attributed to vegetable shortages, which caused food prices to increase at their highest rate in over 45 years, with prices for food and non-alcoholic drinks rising by 18% year-on-year last month.
This was up from 16.7% in January, with prices for some salad and vegetable items particularly affected.
The ONS has said that prices for food and non-alcoholic drinks increased by 18.3%, up from 16.8% in January.
Rising prices in pubs and restaurants also drove inflation higher, with inflation overall in restaurants and cafes at 11.4% last month, up from 9.4% in January, and the highest rate since December 1991.
The rise in inflation presents a challenge for the Bank of England, which is set to make a decision on interest rates soon.
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