Inflation drops to lowest level since February 2010

The Momentum UK Team 22 May 2012

UK inflation fell to its lowest level since February 2010 according to the latest figures provided by the Office for National Statistics.

A slow in transport price rises and the timing of easter were thought to be partially responsible for the fall in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation from 3.5% to 3% in the month of March.

Inflation is a measure of the rising cost everyday living across a period of time. The CPI measure of inflation reached a 5.2% high in September last year.

Although inflation is falling it remains above the 2% target set by the Bank of England.

Cost of living exceeds wage increases for poorest

Although the ONS figures suggest an easing of pressure on household finances as the rising cost of everyday goods slows according to a report by the Trade Unions Congress the cost of living is increasing eight times faster than wages for the poorest families.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

“Everyone has been getting poorer month-on-month for the last two years. But poorer families have been hit particularly hard by soaring food costs and utility bills.

“This squeeze on living standards is putting a terrible strain on family incomes and is dragging our economy down too. But rather than try to ease the burden, the government is making things worse with growth-choking austerity and attacking basic employment rights that will reduce pay further and make jobs more insecure.”

“The government must to do everything in its power to encourage more business investment and decently paid jobs. This is the only way to get the country out of economic depression.”

Elderly population

According to the Alliance Trust Economic Research Centre (ATERC) the rising cost of everyday living remains above average for the elderly population in the UK, in spite of the drop in overall inflation rates. The ATERC reported "over 75 year old households" are facing an inflation rate of 3.6%.

Commenting on today’s inflation figures, Dr Ros Altmann, Director General of Saga, said:

"Recent research has shown us that the over 50s have over the last three months revised up their inflation expectations, suggesting that stubbornly high price growth is embedding itself in consumer expectations and therefore impacting on confidence levels.

“On average the over 50s expect inflation in a year's time to be 5.1%, up from the 4.7% reported last quarter - they now expect inflation to remain higher for longer which can be a scary outlook for those relying on their savings and pensions to keep them afloat."