Inflation fell to 1.7% in February from 1.9% in January after downward pressure from clothing, transport and energy bills.

The Office for National Statistics recorded a smaller rise in clothing prices than usual between January and February. The main downward contributions came from women’s tops, t-shirts, cardigans and casual trousers and men’s suits and t-shirts.

But it was partially offset by a small upward contribution from women’s casual outer jackets, where prices overall rose in February but fell a year ago.

Transport prices increased 0.3% in February down from a 1.2% rise in the same period last year. And gas and electricity prices rose less than a year ago.

These were partially offset by upward movements from furniture household equipment and maintenance, where prices rose overall by 2.4% in February against a 1.5 increase on 2013.

Food had a small downward effect on inflation, mainly as a result of fruit prices but this was partially offset by bread and cereal prices.