THE Prime Minister has been warned the cost of living crisis is not yet over as he welcomed the latest inflation figures.

Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation slowed to 2.3% in April, down from 3.2% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It marks the lowest level since July 2021 when inflation was recorded at 2% - the Bank of England’s target level.

This means that prices are still rising across the country, but at a slower rate than in recent years when households and businesses were being squeezed.

The National:

Rishi Sunak (above) declared inflation was “back to normal” in response to the latest figures, and claimed “brighter days are ahead”.

However, April’s CPI figures came in above the 2.1% that economists had been predicting for the month, indicating a slower-than-expected return to the Bank’s 2% target level.

Lower gas and electricity prices helped bring down the overall inflation figure in April, with prices plunging by more than a quarter in the year to April, the largest fall on record.

Food and drink price rises also slowed for the 13th month in a row to 2.9% in April, from 4% in March, and the lowest level since November 2021.

However, services inflation, a critical indicator for Bank of England policymakers, dipped slightly from 6% in March to 5.9% in April, coming in ahead of the 5.4% rate that some economists had been predicting.

This was driven by stubborn price rises across restaurants and pubs and more volatile aspects of the sector such as hotels and live music.

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Average petrol prices also rose by 3.3p per litre between March and April, the ONS said.

The Prime Minister said: “Today marks a major moment for the economy, with inflation back to normal.

“This is proof that the plan is working and that the difficult decisions we have taken are paying off.

“Brighter days are ahead, but only if we stick to the plan to improve economic security and opportunity for everyone.”

However, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress Paul Nowak said the cost of living crisis is not yet over “no matter how much ministers pretend it is”.

“Prices are still going up. Food and energy bills are much higher than a couple of years ago. And many are being hit by soaring mortgage payments,” he said.

Although Nowak welcomed the lower rate of inflation, he said that “millions up and down the country are still having to cut back on everyday essentials”.

He continued: “That’s because household budgets have been decimated by the highest price rises in the G7 and wages have flatlined over the last 14 years.

“Pay packets are still worth less today than in 2008, with working people on course to end this Parliament poorer than at the start.

“Make no mistake – the Tories have delivered the worst period for living standards in generations.”

Elsewhere, the SNP's economy spokesperson Drew Hendry (below) said the latest figures would be "cold comfort" for people across Scotland "who are being forced to shell out thousands of pounds more in costs due to Tory failure".

The National:

“The reality is prices are still rising on top of the huge increases we have already seen to people’s mortgages, rents, energy bills and shopping on Westminster’s watch.

“Both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer remain wedded to Brexit and austerity cuts, which have hammered the economy and public services - and neither are offering families any meaningful support.

“The SNP government will continue to help families with policies like the Scottish Child Payment, council tax freeze and free tuition but it is vital that Westminster steps up to the plate to deliver real help with the soaring cost of living in the UK.

“It’s clear that it is only SNP MPs demanding the help that families need.”