The rate of inflation has declined to its lowest level in almost three years, official data shows.

Inflation was down to 2% in April in May. That is in line with the Bank of England target figure and was down from 2.3% in April.

The latest fall in the consumer price index rate of inflation will be welcome news for consumers who have struggled under the weight of the cost-of-living crisis that has eroded their spending power.

The Office for National Statistics reported that the largest downward contribution to the change in the inflation rate came from food, “with prices falling this year but rising a year ago”. At the other end of the spectrum, motor fuel was the highest upward contributor to inflation as prices rose ”slightly” compared to a fall a year ago.

Today’s figure followed the release yesterday by market monitor Kantar of grocery market data, which showed that inflation had fallen for a sixteenth consecutive month. More than a third of consumers (36%) now say that their financial position is “comfortable” − the highest proportion since 2021.

The economy and cost of living have been key battlegrounds in the general election. Inflation peaked at just over 11% in October 2022, which was the highest level since 1981.