Inflation rate unchanged at 2.7%

Winter energy bill hikes helped keep the annual rate of inflation at 2.7% for the third month in a row, official figures showed.

The Office for National Statistics said the Consumer Prices Index was unchanged in December, although some economists predict it could rise to above 3% by the summer.

Price increases from four of the “big six” energy suppliers came into effect last month, dampening the impact of a fall in fuel costs.