Inflation ‘still causing problems for consumers’

Inflation has fallen again – but this may not be enough to help those struggling with debt problems.

Official figures published today (De…

Inflation has fallen again – but this may not be enough to help those struggling with debt problems.

Official figures published today (December 13th) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dropped to 4.8 per cent in November, compared with five per cent in October and 5.2 per cent in September.

And the Retail Prices Index – which includes housing costs like mortgages – also dropped, down from 5.4 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

The ONS said the downward trend was fuelled by an easing of the cost of food, clothing and motor fuel, as well as household maintenance costs, although domestic energy and alcohol had an upward effect.

Overall, the picture would appear to be offering some good news for Britain's hard-pressed consumers, not least those struggling with debt, with inflation having apparently peaked.

And as the VAT hike that took place in January this year will drop out of the equation from next month, the prospect may be for the rate to go on falling rapidly – something that would tally with the Bank of England's latest Quarterly Inflation Report, which said CPI will probably hit the two per cent target late on in 2012.

However, the inflation rate is still causing problems for many who are finding the financial going tough, according to general secretary of trade union Unison Dave Prentis.

He called the inflation drop "cold comfort", adding: "Christmas should be a happy time, but for many people the stress of finding, or keeping a job, means the financial pressures are enormous."

Mr Prentis attacked government economic policy and argued this needs to change.

By James Francis

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