UK inflation falls to 4.6% with energy price cap driving drop to lowest level in two years

Inflation has seen a sharp decline, falling from 6.7% to 4.6% and putting the prime minister on track to keep his pledge to halve the rate this year - but Labour say it is too early for the government to be 'popping Champagne corks'

Inflation fell to 4.6% in October, down from 6.7% in September, the Office for National Statistics has said - the lowest level for two years.

The largest driver of the slowdown in inflation came from house prices, which saw the lowest CPI rate since records began in 1950.

Lower gas and energy prices also helped the fall, while food prices have seen little change.

The drop puts the government on track to meet its target to halve inflation - the rate at which prices rise - by the end of the year.

The Bank of England decided to keep UK interest rates unchanged at 5.25% earlier this month and said inflation has been slowing more rapidly than previously expected.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 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."

On Tuesday, new figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed earnings are outstripping inflation at the fastest pace for two years.

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."

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said "we are beginning to win the battle against inflation" but "there's lots more work to do".

He said meeting the promise of halving inflation would allow the government to "move to the next part of our economic plan", focused on growth.

Mr Hunt said he would back the Bank of England's "difficult decisions" on using interest rates to further lower inflation.

"There's lots more work to do. We still have to bring inflation down to its target level of 2%. "But now we are beginning to win the battle against inflation, we can move to the next part of our economic plan, which is the long-term growth of the British economy," he said.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the government should not be "popping Champagne corks" about the fall in the rate of inflation, with people still struggling with the cost of living.

"The fall in inflation will come as some relief for families struggling with the cost of living," she said.

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

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