BUSINESS LIVE: Inflation hits 5.4%; Omicron hurts Wetherspoon revenues

BUSINESS LIVE: Inflation hits 5.4%; Omicron hurts Wetherspoon revenues; Watchdog cracks down on high-risk investment adverts

UK inflation hit 5.4 per cent in December, with consumer prices now rising at their fastest rate since March 1992, fresh data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

Rising from 5.1 per cent in November, the ONS said consumer price growth in December was driven by food and non-alcoholic beverages, restaurants and hotels, furniture and household goods, and clothing and footwear.

Pub group JD Wetherspoon is set to record a loss for the first half of the fiscal year after the Omicron coronavirus variant led to renewed curbs and kept people from heading out during the festive season.

Wetherspoon’s like-for-like sales fell by 11.7 per cent in the 25 weeks to 16 January, with second-quarter sales hurt by restrictions imposed in December.

Britain’s financial watchdog has proposed a significant strengthening of rules on how high-risk financial products are marketed.

Under the proposed rules, the Financial Conduct Authority would ensure firms that approve and communicate financial marketing have relevant expertise and understanding of the investments being offered, improve risk warnings on ads and ban incentives to invest.

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Wetherspoon’s sales in the second quarter were affected by the ‘Plan B’ restrictions announced by the government in December