Coronavirus: UK inflation rate falls to 0.5%

The UK’s inflation rate fell to 0.5% in May, the second full month of the coronavirus lockdown, as most shops were shut by the pandemic.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) fell from 0.8% in April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Supermarkets were among the few shops allowed to open during the month and food prices rose.

However, this rise was offset by a fall in clothing and footwear prices, the ONS said.

“The growth in consumer prices again slowed to the lowest annual rate in four years,” said ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow.

“The cost of games and toys fell back from last month’s rises, while there was a continued drop in prices at the pump in May, following the huge crude price falls seen in recent months.

“Outside these areas, we are seeing few significant changes to the prices in the shops.”

The ONS admitted that it had difficulty compiling inflation statistics for May, since many areas of the economy were completely shut down.

For instance, inflation figures for holidays had had to be “imputed”, it said.