Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King has defended what he described as a "temporary albeit protracted period of above-target inflation".
He said that any attempt to lower inflation to below the 2% target would "risk derailing the recovery".
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Labour strongholds tended to remain so - apart from a major loss for the party in Dudley.
Labour suffered a "terrible" defeat in Rhondda but has already won 16 Welsh Assembly seats as it looks to record a fifth term in office.
UKIP have made further gains in the local elections in the Anglia region and the Conservatives have won back control in Peterborough.