UK consumers’ confidence at a three-year high

Chris Papadopoullos
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A HEALTHY jobs market has pushed consumer confidence to a three-year high, according to figures released this morning by the accountancy firm Deloitte.

The Deloitte consumer tracker shows the net balance (the percentage of people saying “yes” minus those saying “no”) of respondents whose confidence had increased over the last three months rising to minus five.

This score is three points higher than a year ago and a point higher than during the last quarter.

According to the breakdown of the survey, substantial year-on-year gains were made in consumers’ confidence regarding their disposable income, levels of debt and job progression.

Asda’s income tracker published this morning shows that families had more to spend in September. Discretionary income was £174 a week, £6 higher than a year ago. This marks the 12th month of increase.

Improvements were seen across the country. London, the east Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber saw the largest increases in family spending power, with incomes up £10, £8 and £7 a week respectively year on year.

Lloyds Bank research gives a more subdued picture of consumer confidence. Its index fell by six points to 146 but remains relatively high.

“An improving jobs market and lower inflation have been a real tonic for UK consumers. With inflation on a declining path and earnings heading up, the scene is set for a recovery in real incomes around the turn of the year,” said Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte.