Inflation is ALMOST ‘back to normal’ but politicians are being cautious in response, in the face of criticism.

Inflation is ALMOST ‘back to normal’ but politicians are being cautious

Inflation is almost ‘back to normal’ but politicians are being cautious with their words about it – for a good reason.

We have already been warned that the UK’s largest political parties would lie about it.

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt may try to take credit where none is due (the fall from 3.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent is because the last of the gas and electricity price rises have fallen off the annual inflation figure).

And Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, was expected to support whatever the Bank of England wants to do next – probably delaying a lowering of interest rates – because she believes it can do no wrong.

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In the event, Sunak merely said the figures marked a “major moment for the economy, with inflation back to normal”, adding that “brighter days are ahead, but only if we stick to the plan to improve economic security and opportunity for everyone.”

That’s as pretty a piece of gaslighting as This Writer has seen in a while. If Sunak even has a plan to improve economic security and opportunity, it isn’t for everyone – just the very few extremely rich people who fund his party.

And Reeves? She warned: “Now is not the time for Conservative ministers to be popping champagne corks and taking a victory lap.

“After 14 years of Conservative chaos, families are worse off. Prices in the shops have soared, mortgage bills have risen and taxes are at a 70-year high.”

Notice the mention of mortgage bills rising – this is due to raised interest rates that the Bank of England introduced in an attempt to keep prices down, and actually comes across as a warning to the Bank to reduce the rate quickly. Watch this space!

Inflation had been expected to fall to 2.1 per cent but this didn’t happen because services inflation, covering hospitality, culture and education, declined by significantly less than economists had predicted.

It dipped only slightly, from six per cent in March to 5.9 per cent in April, when analysts had forecast a rate of 5.4 per cent for the latest month.

This was driven by price rises across restaurants and hotels, with the rate of inflation increasing to six per cent in April from 5.8 per cent in March.

Average petrol prices also rose by 3.3p per litre between March and April, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This leaves the Bank of England havering over whether to cut interest rates. According to some commentators, like James Smith, developed markets economist for ING, services inflation is “the single most important indicator for the Bank of England”, so the lack of improvement there will be significant.

So rates are likely to stay high after the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee next meets, in June.

They may rise in August – unless the Bank can find another excuse.

And with rumours of a summer election reaching fever pitch, Reeves may be Chancellor by then. Will she be the Bank’s poodle, as we all expect?

Source: Inflation ‘back to normal’, declares PM despite smaller-than-expected decline

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