Inflation fell to 1.6% in March, down from 1.7% in February and the third consecutive month it has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target.

The Office for National Statistics said the largest contribution to the fall came from transport, particularly motor fuel.

Clothing, furniture and furnishings had a small downward effect on inflation as prices rose by less than the same period last year. Furniture, household equipment and maintenance prices increased 0.3% against 0.8% last year.

But rises across restaurants, hotels, alcohol and tobacco partially offset the downward pressure.

The inflation fall is the sixth consecutive month inflation has fallen, making it the longest consecutive fall since records began. The 1.6% fall is also the lowest since October 2009.