THE Tories have rushed to claim victory after new data showed inflation has dropped to below five per cent – despite experts saying UK Government action has had little to do with it.

It comes as the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that Consumer Prices Index inflation was 4.6% in October, down from 6.7% in September.

In January, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made halving inflation the first of his “five pledges”. At the time, the CPI rate stood at 10.7%.

October’s CPI figure marks the lowest level since October 2021, when CPI stood at 4.2%.

Sunak and his top allies, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, have trumpeted the numbers as evidence of their success. Hunt wrote: “Beating back inflation has been this Government’s number one priority. It’s now half what it was – down from 10.7% to 4.6%.

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“That’s thanks to deliberate action we’ve taken – being disciplined on spending, helping people into work, and resisting calls for additional borrowing.”

And Sunak claimed his “hard decisions and fiscal discipline” had had an impact.

But experts have said that claims the fall in inflation is due to UK Government action are “dubious”.

Instead, rising interest rates and falling global energy prices have been singled out as key reasons for the fall.

Suren Thiru, economics director at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said: “This dramatic drop suggests that the UK has turned the corner in its battle against soaring inflation, particularly given the fall in core inflation, which indicates that underlying price pressures are also easing.

“While the Prime Minister (below) has achieved his target to halve inflation this year, this owes more to the downward pressure on prices from falling energy costs and rising interest rates than any Government action.”

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Paula Bejarano Carbo, an associate economist with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said the fall was "driven by a base effect (i.e. the large energy price increases that occurred in October 2022 ‘dropping out’ of the CPI basket this October)".

​She went on: "It is important to stress that control of inflation is the job of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England and not the government.

"It is largely its actions, raising interest rates, that have enabled inflation to fall in this time, alongside decreasing energy prices (given that the UK is an energy importer, this is an exogenous factor). It would therefore be helpful to move the narrative away from this halving objective, and back towards the two per cent target."

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Nicholas Hyett, an investment analyst at brokers Wealth Club, said: "At the headline level at least, these numbers are cause for celebration. A substantial fall in inflation should help ease the cost-of-living crisis, while a pause in interest rate rises will be a huge relief to mortgage holders.

“Downing Street will be particularly pleased to wave goodbye to the UK’s status as the inflation nation, since it means the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut inflation in half is achieved a month ahead of schedule – although whether the government is entitled to celebrate a fall in global energy prices over which it has no control is rather dubious.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (below) said the fall in inflation rates would be a “relief” for many, but went on: “Now is not the time for Conservative ministers to be popping champagne corks and patting themselves on the back.

The National: Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“After 13 years of economic failure under the Conservatives, working people are worse off with higher mortgage bills, prices still rising in the shops and inflation twice as high as the Bank of England’s target.”

The ONS’s chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “Inflation fell substantially on the month as last year’s steep rise in energy costs has been followed by a small reduction in the energy price cap this year.

“Food prices were little changed on the month, after rising this time last year, while hotel prices fell, both helping to push inflation to its lowest rate for two years.

“The cost of goods leaving factories rose on the month. However, the annual growth was slightly negative, led by petroleum and basic metal products.”