UK inflation in shock pause at 6.7 per cent as soaring fuel costs offset falling food prices

An easing of food and non-alcoholic drinks prices was offset by higher fuel prices for motorists

Alex Ross
Wednesday 18 October 2023 09:40 BST
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Martin Lewis details how Britons can lower their bills ahead of new energy price cap

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UK inflation held steady 6.7 per cent in September as soaring fuel costs offset a fall in food prices, sustaining pressure on households amid the cost of living crisis.

The headline consumer prices index (CPI) measure had been predicted to fall slightly to 6.6 per cent from August by some economists.

But an easing of food and drink price rises is thought to have been offset by higher petrol and diesel prices for motorists - in what could be seen as a blow for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt who last month suggested the UK was now light at the end of the tunnel.

Many had hoped for a fall in the measure to help ease the pressure on households already struggling with the cost of living.

In its report, the ONS said food and non-alcoholic drink prices fell by 0.1 per cent from August to September, compared to a rise of 1.1 per cent between the same two months a year ago.

The largest drops in prices came from milk, cheese and eggs, mineral waters, soft drinks and juices.

There had also been a slowing down in the increase in prices of furniture and household goods compared to a year ago.

But the ONS also reported a 0.2 per cent rise in transport costs between August and September, compared to a fall of 1.7 per cent over the two months last year.

This increase, the body said, was almost entirely down to the rise in petrol and diesel, with the average price of petrol rising to 153.6p per litre in September. The average price of diesel rose to 157.4p per litre.

(PA Wire)

There was also an increase in the prices at restaurants and hotels, with the inflation rate rising by 0.9 per cent between August and September - this, the ONS, indicate was largely down to a hike in the price of accommodation services.

ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “After last month’s fall, annual inflation was unchanged in September.

“Food and non-alcoholic drinks prices eased again across a range of items with the cost of household appliances and air fares also falling this month.

“These were offset by rising prices for motor fuels and the cost of hotel stays.”

Mr Hunt shared his reaction on X, formerly Twitter. He said: “As we have seen across other G7 countries, inflation rarely falls in a straight line, but if we stick to our plan then we still expect it to keep falling this year.

“Today’s news just shows this is even more important so we can ease the pressure on families and businesses.”

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