The UK’s inflation rate for April 2012 fell to its lowest level since February 2010, with a slowdown in price rises for air and sea transport, alcohol and clothing.
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that CPI annual inflation was 3.0% last month, compared with 3.5% in March. RPI annual inflation dropped to 3.5% from 3.6% in March.
The timing of Easter had an impact on April’s lower inflation, most notably in the cost of air travel, with air fares rising by 7.4% between March and April compared with 29.0% a year earlier. Similarly the cost of sea transport fares rose by 4.2% between March and April 2012 compared with a rise of 22.3% between the same two months in 2011. A smaller downward impact was seen from lower price increases for second-hand cars, clothing & footwear and alcohol bought in off-licences.
Contributing upward pressures to the change in CPI annual inflation between March and April were the operation of personal transport equipment, prices paid in restaurants & hotels and rents.
With inflation falling to 3% it is back within the target range for the first time since 2010. As a result, for the first time in this Parliament the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, will not have to write a public letter to Chancellor George Osborne to explain why the 2% target for CPI inflation has not been met.
Commenting this morning the Chancellor welcomed the fall in inflation, saying that it provides “welcome relief to families on tight budgets”. The Bank of England expects inflation to continue falling further over the next year or so, he added.