Rishi Sunak declares victory on inflation as rate falls to lowest in two years

The UK’s consumer prices index (CPI) dropped to 4.6 per cent in October, down from 6.7 per cent in September, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the lowest rate of price increases in two years, and means inflation has more than halved since late last year.

In a statement released this morning, prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “In January I made halving inflation this year my top priority. I did that because it is, without a doubt, the best way to ease the cost of living and give families financial security.

“Today, we have delivered on that pledge.”

He argued that “hard decisions and fiscal discipline” from his government had contributed to the fall in inflation.

“Inflation works like a tax. It eats into the pound in your pocket, affecting the price of your food shop, your mortgage, the size of your pension pot”, the prime minister said.

“This is why halving inflation has been my number one priority. Getting it down has involved hard decisions and fiscal discipline. Official figures released this morning confirm we have halved inflation, meeting the first of the five priorities I set out at the beginning of this year.

“While it is welcome news that prices are no longer rising as quickly, we know many people are continuing to struggle, which is why we must stay the course to continue to get inflation all the way back down to 2%.”

CPI was 10.7 per cent when Sunak vowed to half inflation in January — meaning the prime minister had to reduce the rate of price rises to 5.3 per cent.

The dramatic inflation fall comes after the latest Ofgem price cap came into effect, limiting typical household energy bills to £1,834.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has warned the government not to start “popping champagne corks” about the fall in the rate of inflation.

She said: “The fall in inflation will come as some relief for families struggling with the cost of living.

“But now is not the time for Conservative ministers to be popping champagne corks and patting themselves on the back.

“After 13 years of economic failure under the Conservatives, working people are worse off with higher mortgage bills, prices still rising in the shops and inflation twice as high as the Bank of England’s target.

“Rishi Sunak is too out of touch and his party is too divided to help people who are worried about the cost of living.

“A Labour government’s priority would be making working people better off by boosting wages, cutting people’s bills and getting the economy growing again.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney has said Sunak meeting his inflation target is “cold comfort” for working people.

She said: “Rishi Sunak congratulating himself over today’s figures will be cold comfort for all the hard-working people still bearing the brunt of this Conservative chaos.

“For months on end, people across the country have been watching as their pay cheque gets squeezed from all sides, draining every spare penny. From the ever-increasing cost of the weekly shop to skyrocketing mortgage payments.

“Enough is enough. With next week’s autumn statement, the Government must properly help families and pensioners struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and give our NHS the funding it desperately needs”.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics, said: “Inflation fell substantially on the month as last year’s steep rise in energy costs has been followed by a small reduction in the energy price cap this year.

“Food prices were little changed on the month, after rising this time last year, while hotel prices fell, both helping to push inflation to its lowest rate for two years.”

Alpesh Paleja, CBI Lead Economist, said: “A big drop in inflation was always expected in October, with last year’s energy price cap rise falling out of the annual comparison. But even taking this into account, inflation is heading in the right direction and the Government’s pledge to halve inflation by the end of the year has been met”.

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