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Inflation eases but cost pressures remain 

The UK inflation rate fell sharply in April to finally hit single figures for the first time since last August, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Prices rose by 8.7% in the year to April, down from 10.1% in March, largely due to a drop in energy prices.

Food costs, however, continued to surge at the fastest rate in nearly 45 years with grocery prices rises to 19.1%.

David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Today’s CPI rate of 8.7% indicates, that after several false starts, the peak in inflation looks to have passed. This is further evidenced by a significant slowdown in the producer price input rate to 3.9%. Falls in gas and electricity costs provided the largest downward contribution to CPI. 

“But this does not mean the problems caused by inflation will suddenly go away. Prices continue to rise from an already high base, after 18 months of price shocks.  

“The last year and a half has had a devastating impact on many small firms who were just starting to see activity bounce back following the removal of COVID restrictions. 

“With the interest rate currently at 4.5%, widespread skills shortages and trade frictions on the rise, the cost of doing business is the highest in years.

“Action by the Government to help with the squeeze on the labour supply, reform of business rates and support on exports would go some way to helping them face the future with more confidence.”

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