Food and petrol inflation slows but clothes and days out become more costly

Economists currently expect the Monetary Policy Committee to hike rates from 0.5pc to 0.75pc in May.

Consumer price inflation stayed at 3pc in the 12 months to January, the Office for National Statistics said.

Food prices rose by 4pc, the slowest pace in four months, as inflation dipped sharply across staples including rice, pasta, meat and dairy produce.

The cost of petrol rose by 2pc on the year, the weakest increase in six months – although rising global oil prices may put an end to that trend.

The headline rate of inflation remained unchanged as other prices picked up pace.

Recreation and culture costs rose by 3.3pc, the fastest rise in eight years. The steep increase was driven by a surge in ticket prices for museums and zoos, where inflation surged from 1.4pc in the 12 months to December to 5.3pc in January.

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