Inflation rate holds as minister pledges to ‘drive it down closer’ to target

Inflation was unchanged last month, confounding the expectations of economists who predicted prices would rise.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the consumer prices index (CPI) remained at 4 per cent in January.

Economists had expected prices to rise by 4.1 per cent compared to the same month last year.

Reacting to the news on the media round this morning, Laura Farris, the minister for victims and safeguarding, stressed that the UK is “on track” to get inflation down to 2 per cent “in the coming months”.

Farris told Sky News: “Our ambition is to get down much closer to 2 per cent, the Bank of England says we’re on track to do that in the coming months.

“Obviously we would like for it to go down today, but it’s staying level. Often inflation doesn’t fall in a linear way, so we’re not overinterpreting today’s data.

“We’re still aiming very hard to drive it down closer to 2 per cent.”

As inflation remained steady at 4pc, ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “Inflation was unchanged in January reflecting counteracting effects within the basket of goods and services.

“The price of gas and electricity rose at a higher rate than this time last year due to the increase in the energy price cap, while the cost of second-hand cars went up for the first time since May.

“Offsetting these, prices of furniture and household goods decreased by more than a year ago and food prices fell on the month for the first time in over two years.

“All of these factors combined resulted in no change to the headline rate this month”.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Inflation never falls in a perfect straight line, but the plan is working; we have made huge progress in bringing inflation down from 11pc, and the Bank of England forecast that it will fall to around 2pc in a matter of months”.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “After 14 years of economic failure working people are worse off. Prices are still rising in the shops, with the average household’s costs up £110-a-week compared to before the last election.

“Inflation is still higher than the Bank of England’s target and millions of families are struggling with the cost of living.

“The Conservatives cannot fix the economy because they are the reason it is broken. It’s time for change.

“Only Labour has a long-term plan to get Britain’s future back by delivering more jobs, more investment and cheaper bills”. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.