Falling air fares after the Easter holidays contributed to a fall in the UK inflation rate last month for the first time since September. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, fell to 0.3%.

The main causes were falls in the prices of air fares, vehicles, clothing and social housing rents.

The Bank of England said last week that it expected inflation to increase in the second half of the year.

By far the largest downward effect in April came from air fares, with prices falling by 14.2% from March, compared with a rise of 4.5% between the same two months last year.

This was influenced by the timing of the Easter holidays in March.

The cost of air fares rose dramatically between February and March this year and then fell sharply in April. 

The price of clothing and footwear also fell as retailers dropped prices to try to revive sales hit by last month’s cold weather.

The falls were offset by an increase in the cost of going out with inflation in hotels and restaurants rising by 2.3%, suggesting that the sector is starting to lift prices because of the introduction of the national living wage, the Times reported.