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Gas and electricity price rises fuel inflation

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Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the consumer prices index annual inflation – the Government’s target measure – was 2.5% in February up from 2.2% in January.

The largest upward pressure came from housing and household services as recent gas and electricity price rises took effect.

Part of the impact for this upward pressure came from a change in the way prices are recorded. Last year energy price changes were phased in gradually over a four month period but now any increases in the tariff rate are implemented in full at the time they are introduced by the energy company.

There was also a small upward effect on the inflation rate from alcohol and tobacco with cigarette and beer prices rising by more than a year ago.

Another upward contribution came from recording media such as prerecorded DVDs, although this was partly offset by downward contributions from games, toys and hobbies, and cultural services, such as live music events.

There was a small upward effect from milk, cheese and egg prices which rose by 17.6%, the largest increase since records began in 1997.

The largest downward contribution came from food and non-alcoholic beverages, particularly fruit and vegetables. Vegetable prices rose by less than a year ago and fruit prices fell compared with a rise a year ago, with the largest impact coming from strawberries.

Other downward contributions came from air and sea fares which rose by less than a year ago and a fall in landline telephone charges.

The retail prices index inflation figures for February show no change from January at 4.1%.

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