UK’s inflation rate drops to 8.7%, down from over 10% in March - but food prices still surging at 19%

24 May 2023, 07:09 | Updated: 24 May 2023, 08:08

The decline in inflation is due to stabilising energy costs but there is no great relief yet on houshold costs including shopping
The decline in inflation is due to stabilising energy costs but there is no great relief yet on houshold costs including shopping. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

The rate of inflation is back in single digits for the first time since last summer, easing to 8.7% last month, down from 10.1% in March.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the decrease was mainly driven by gas and electricity costs remaining stable in April. It is the first time the CPI has been below 10 per cent in eight months.

However, food prices are still surging at 19.1 per cent, according to today’s data.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: “The IMF said yesterday we've acted decisively to tackle inflation but although it is positive that it is now in single digits, food prices are still rising too fast.

"So as well as helping families with around £3,000 of cost of living support this year and last, we must stick resolutely to the plan to get inflation down.”

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: "As bills keep surging, families will be worried food prices and the cost of other essentials are still increasing.

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"They will be asking why this Tory government still refuses to properly tackle this cost of living crisis, and why they won't bring in a proper windfall tax on the enormous profits of oil and gas giants.

"The reality is that never have people paid so much in taxes and got so little in return.

"Our economy is constantly lurching from crisis to crisis, when we should be protecting family finances and building our national economic security here in Britain.

"Labour's mission to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 will make families across every part of our country better off," the Labour MP said.

James Smith, research director at the Resolution Foundation think tank, said: "The cost-of-living crisis is evolving not ending with surging food prices now taking centre stage.

"Surging food prices are particularly painful for low-income families, three-in-five of whom are already reporting that they are having to cut back on food and other essentials."

The drop to 8.7% was higher than forecast by economists, who had pencilled in a drop to 8.2% in April.

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