• In a bid to narrow the price between economy and premium cigarettes and support health goals, the government is loading duties on cheaper brands. Tobacco duty rates will rise two per cent above inflation, as was decided in last year’s Budget, but from 6pm last night economy cigarette packets went up 50p, while premium brands went up by 33p. Meanwhile smokers of hand-rolled tobacco face a 10 per cent hike in duty.

•The price of alcohol will rise by two per cent above inflation from 28 March. From November high strength beers will have extra duty on them.