Inflation falls below zero

For the first time since March 1960, annual inflation measured by the Retail Prices Index – which includes housing costs such as mortgage interest payments and council tax – fell below zero to -0.4%.

While the Consumer Prices Index annual inflation – the government’s target measure – fell to 2.9% in March, down from 3.2% in February.

The largest downward effect on the CPI came from housing and household services.

This was mainly due to a fall in gas bills while they were unchanged a year ago. There was also a downward effect from heating oil which fell this year compared with a rise last year.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed to the downward move with the largest effect coming from vegetables where prices fell by more than a year ago across a range of products.