Inflation Drops More Than Expected In July
The two measures of UK inflation have dropped more than expected in July, prompted by discounting on the high street.
According to official data, the Retail Prices Index (RPI) stood at 2.5% and the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) was 1.6%.
Economists had expected a CPI rate of around 1.8%, after official figures showed a June rate of 1.9%.
CPI now appears to be headed back towards May's figure of 1.5%, which at the time was the lowest level for four-and-a-half years.
Inflation has been below the Bank of England (BoE) 2% target for seven straight months - the first time this has occurred since 2005.
The RPI, which unlike the other measure includes housing costs, was recorded in June at 2.6%.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the biggest contributor to the slowing annual inflation rate was discounting on the high street for clothing and footwear.
This was because retailers held off on price cuts throughout June.
Food and non-alcoholic drinks also fell year-on-year, and the CPI was also eased by falling spirits and wine prices.
Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told Sky News: "The fact that inflation has been below the Bank of England target for seven consecutive months shows that subdued inflation is now becoming the norm as the economy recovers.
"Eliminating the deficit fairly, and repairing the UK economy remains central to the role of Liberal Democrats in Government.
"These encouraging inflation numbers should give businesses the confidence they need to deliver the investment required to boost productivity. Rising productivity is the only route to sustainable increases in living standards."
The data comes as commuters learned they would face a 3.5% increase in rail fares next year, which uses the RPI figure plus 1% to calculate increases.
The further drop to the CPI eases pressure on the BoE to hike the 0.5% base rate, which has been at its historic low for the last five years.
Meanwhile, the ONS said UK house prices increased by 10.2% in the year to June, reaching a new high average price of £265,000.
House prices in the capital, however, shot up by 19.3% in the year to June.
It calculated the average house price in London at £499,000, and said that "house prices are increasing strongly across most parts of the UK".