British inflation slowed to 1.5% last month as consumers benefited from lower petrol prices and the ongoing supermarket price war. 

The figure, which matches the four and a half year low seen in May, means CPI inflation has been below its target of 2% for eight months in a row - the longest such run since 2005.

Falling petrol prices and lower food and non-alcoholic drinks provided the largest downward contributions to the 0.1% decline in the inflation rate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The figure may ease pressure on Bank of England policy-makers as they consider when to hike interest rates which have been at the historic low of 0.5% for over five years.

Economists said stable energy bills, lower import prices and weak wage growth will enable inflation to fall to as low as 1% by the end of this year and remain weak in 2015.

UK food and drink prices fell by 0.2% between July and August and are now 1.1% lower than a year earlier - the biggest figure since June 2002. 

There was also downward pressure on the prices of furniture and house

hold equipment. These falls offset rises among clothing and footwear, which jumped by 2.6% between July and August. Alcohol and tobacco also rose 1% between the same period.

Today's ONS data showed the retail prices index measure of inflation, which includes housing costs, also fell to 2.4% from 2.5%.