Leading economic experts have warned that a slight fall in overall inflation does not provide relief for the cost of living crisis as reduced fuel costs mask the fact that prices for household goods are still rising.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that the Consumer Prices Index was 9.9% in the year to August, down from 10.1% the previous month. While it remains close to its 40-year record, it had not been forecast to fall since July.
However, the ONS said the inflation rate was dragged down by a 6.8% drop in fuel prices, the biggest fall since between March and April 2020 at the start of the pandemic when oil prices briefly went negative on some markets.
The Institute for Public Policy Research noted that because prices for household goods are still going up, further government intervention was therefore needed to prevent "more poverty and more destitution" this winter.
There has also been criticism that wages do not match rising living costs, even as inflation falls slightly. In response to the figures, Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, warned of a "crisis of income”.
“Rocketing inflation may have been eased last month but that won't last," she said. “Current levels continue to threaten the living standards of millions of workers. This is now a crisis of income. Only the rich and powerful are protected."