OPINION - The Standard View: Economy is on the up – but not fast enough for the Conservatives

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the fall in inflation (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the fall in inflation (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

What might have been a curtain call for the Government, with inflation falling to 2.3 per cent, was instead greeted with a sharp intake of breath. The markets were hoping for better, with a consensus forming around 2.1 per cent. As a result, a June interest rate cut now appears less, not more likely. Meanwhile, voters, still paying the consequences of double-digit price rises and higher mortgage repayments, do not yet seem in the mood to give thanks.

The drop in inflation was driven largely by a decline in the energy price cap, which fuelled cheaper gas and electricity bills, from £3,116 per year last spring to £1,690. What is likely to concern the Bank of England and Treasury, however, is that services inflation barely fell, while core inflation, which strips out more volatile products such as food and energy, also declined by less than expected.

The trouble for the Government is that the economic data, though improving, is not yet doing so at such a pace to secure immediate interest rate cuts or credit from voters. With a long election campaign ahead, Rishi Sunak will have to hope this is not a case of the public having simply stopped listening.

Summer of female art

Forget today’s drizzle, a summer of culture in the capital awaits. The Standard’s front page belongs to Judy Chicago, toasting a seven-decade career with a stunning retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery. Chicago is as radical, colourful and pioneering as ever, having come to prominence in the Sixties, challenging a male-dominated art world.

Today, the capital is packed with shows by female artists. At the Tate Modern is Yoko Ono, while Tate Britain has a major show on female artists from 1520 to 1920, swiftly following its acclaimed Women in Revolt! Art and Activism in the UK exhibition. Chicago’s exhibition, Revelations, brings together new, little-seen and classic pieces that will challenge and delight audiences. Well worth a stroll down to Kensington Gardens.

Chelsea merry-go-round

Summer is traditionally a time for Punch and Judy shows. But if you want a real waterside farce, head to Stamford Bridge for the Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali experience.

The Chelsea owners have dismissed manager Mauricio Pochettino after one season, despite a strong finish. Pochettino will be fine, not least with a handsome compensation package.

But while Chelsea fans are used to the managerial merry-go-round, a period of stability would be welcome. It might even produce results — as long as that person did whatever the owners told them to do.