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Inflation cooling but business price pressures persist

Inflation fell to its lowest level in two-and-a-half years to 3.2% in the year to March, compared to 3.4% the month before.

According to the Office for National Statistics, lower food prices had driven the drop.

David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Inflation is continuing to slowly head in the right direction. That’s good news for both consumers and businesses.

“However, a lot of uncertainty remains among the firms we speak to. Our most recent Quarterly Economic Survey showed almost half of firms in fact expect their prices to rise over the next three months. Labour costs are cited as the main driver, but increasing political and global uncertainty is becoming a key factor.

“Businesses will be keen to see how this data translates into changes on interest rate policy. More than a third of SMEs we surveyed at the start of the year have seen increased borrowing costs because of the current interest rate.

“Business conditions more generally remain challenging, and firms need to see a clear long-term vision for the UK economy from politicians.”

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