Inflation remains at 3% as food price rises weaken

Inflation has remained steady at 3% as food and fuel prices appear to be weakening.

The Office for National Statistics said the Consumer Prices Index rate of inflation last month was unchanged from December, which saw a 0.1% drop from November's six-year high.

Economists had forecast a drop to 2.9%, which would have marked a further reprieve for British consumers.

Paltry wage growth has continued to squeeze UK households and is failing to offset the Brexit-fulled jump in the cost of living.

The lion's share of the downward pressure came from motor fuel prices, according to the ONS.

At the pumps, petrol prices rose by 1.1p per litre on the month to 121p per litre, while diesel rose 1p to 124.5p per litre.

But food price inflation also appeared to be slowing - having risen strongly since mid-2016 - edging down 0.1% on the month amid larger falls in the cost of meat, oils, milk, cheese and eggs.

Clothing prices helped to prop up the inflation figure despite having fallen 3.7% month on month, which marked a weaker drop compared to the 4.3% fall during the same period a year earlier.

Tobacco costs, meanwhile, grew faster at 0.4% month on month which was likely due to the remainder of duty price hikes coming through after being introduced in November.