The UK Consumer Prices Index (CPI) annual inflation rate has decreased to 3.2% in the 12 months to March 2024, a slight drop from 3.4% in February.  

The data, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals that on a monthly basis the inflation rate experienced a 0.6% rise in March 2024 – lower compared to the 0.8% rise seen in March 2023.  

Core CPI, which excludes volatile items such as energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, also saw a decrease to 4.2% in the 12 months to March 2024, down from 4.5% in the previous month. 

The CPI for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 4% during the year to March 2024, a decline from the 5% rise seen in the year to February.  

This is the lowest annual rate since November 2021.  

In contrast, prices for furniture and household goods saw a decrease of 0.9% in the year to March 2024, compared with a modest rise of 0.1% in February. 

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Prices for clothing and footwear rose by 3.9% in the year to March 2024, showing a fall from the 5% increase in the year to the previous month.  

This rate is the lowest recorded since November 2021.  

On a monthly basis, prices of clothing and footwear grew by 0.6% between February and March 2024, against a rise of 1.6% a year previously. 

British Retail Consortium insight director Kris Hamer said: “Cost pressures on households eased in March [2024] as inflation dropped to its lowest level since September 2021. Energy prices remain deflationary while falling inflation rates for clothing and household furniture and equipment were also key in driving down the headline figure.  

“Consumers benefitted as food inflation fell once again, marking twelve months of consecutive drops. This was helped by falls in the cost of a roast dinner as the price of beef, pork and potatoes all fell.”