Inflation eased to 1.5% in May from 1.8% in April as the ONS reported food and non-alcoholic inflation fell for the first time since 2006.

The rate of inflation has fallen each month since autumn 2013, with the exception of April, which was boosted by the Easter holiday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed inflation fell 0.1% in May against a 0.2% rise last year.

The ONS said a 0.7% fall in transport cost was the largest contribution to the decrease in the rate, while the largest upward impact came from motor fuels and recreation and culture as prices increased 0.4%.

Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices fell 1.1% year on year. The month-on-month inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages is at its lowest level for more than nine years, as prices fell 0.6% against April.

The ONS said: “This is the first price fall on the year since March 2006.”

Food inflation fell 1.2% year on year in May versus a 0.2% fall last year. The biggest downwards impact came from bread and cereals, meat, vegetables and soft drinks.

Part of the reason for this fall could be the supermarket price war as the big four grocers compete for shopper spend.

Clothing and footwear prices fell 0.1% against a 1.2% rise in the same period last year.

The ONS added: “The main downward effect came from garments, particularly women’s outerwear where prices for some items fell this year but rose a year ago. This came amidst reports of May 2013 temperatures falling below seasonal norms.”