Inflation has eased back to its lowest level since March last year, but remained higher than expected as food prices continued to rise at a near record pace.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation fell to 8.7% in April, down from 10.1% in March, as last year’s energy price hikes were not repeated.
But it was higher than forecast by economists, who had pencilled in a drop to 8.2% in April.
ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “The rate of inflation fell notably as the large energy price rises seen last year were not repeated this April, but was offset partially by increases in the cost of second-hand cars and cigarettes.
“However, prices in general remain substantially higher than they were this time last year, with annual food price inflation near historic highs.”
The figures showed food CPI inflation at 19.3%, down only slightly on March’s eye-watering 19.6%.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Although it is positive that it is now in single digits, food prices are still rising too fast.
“So as well as helping families with around £3,000 of cost-of-living support this year and last, we must stick resolutely to the plan to get inflation down.”