West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has reacted to the news that inflation increased in December to four per cent,
Forecasters had predicted a further decline from the previous rate of 3.9 per cent, but instead, increased costs for tobacco and alcohol saw the rate increase.
Mark Casci, head of policy at West & North Yorkshire Chamber, said: “While it is true the inflation rarely declines in a straight line, this news will present further uncertainty for businesses.
“The current difficulties for shipping in the Red Sea have the strong potential to pose further difficulties for trading and will create further unsettlement among companies.
“We repeat our call for a long-term strategy for our economic future.”
David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce said:
“Consumer price inflation remains stubborn with a slightly higher than expected growth rate of 4% in December 2023, and no change in core inflation at 5.1%. However, producer prices continued to fall by 2.8%.
“For consumers, prices continue to rise from a very high base. The current global picture means the path ahead is now more uncertain. One of the core reasons for the last two years of inflation was supply chain collapse due to Covid-19 lockdowns, and current disruption in the Red Sea has already seen a spike in leading indicators such as shipping container and insurance costs.
“Our surveys show while inflation has been diminishing as a concern for businesses, it remains top of the list, particularly for sectors more exposed to economic shocks like hospitality and retail. Coupled with trade barriers with the EU and ongoing worker shortages, trading conditions remain tough.
“Businesses are increasingly desperate for a clear, long-term strategy which delivers on infrastructure, trade, skills, and green innovation to grow the economy.”