LONDON (AP) — Inflation in the U.K. dropped sharply in October to its lowest level in two years largely because last year’s steep rise in domestic energy bills dropped out of the annual comparison, official figures showed Wednesday.
The Office for National Statistics said consumer prices in the year to October were 4.6% higher than the year before, much lower than the 6.7% recorded in the previous month.
The decline means Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to halve inflation this year has been met. Sunak made the pledge soon after becoming prime minister when inflation was more than 10%.
“I did that because it is, without a doubt, the best way to ease the cost of living and give families financial security,” he said. “Today, we have delivered on that pledge.”
The government can take comfort from the decline but the main reason why inflation has fallen in that time is because of the big interest rate increases from the Bank of England, which is tasked with meeting a target inflation rate of 2%.
Earlier this month, the bank kept its main interest rate unchanged at the 15-year high of 5.25% and indicated that borrowing costs will likely remain at these sort of elevated levels for a while.
The Bank of England, like other central banks, raised interest rates aggressively from near zero as it sought to counter price rises first stoked by supply chain issues during the coronavirus pandemic and then Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up food and energy costs.
Higher interest rates — which cool the economy by making it more expensive to borrow, thereby bearing down on spending — have contributed to bringing down inflation worldwide.
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