The overall consumer confidence index dropped for a fourth consecutive month and fell by two points to -18, a similar level to when Northern Rock was nationalised.
Nick Moon, managing of GfK NOP Social Research, said: “These figures are clearly not good news for the coalition government, especially with mounting speculation about double dip recession. “
“With considerable cuts in public spending, plus higher taxes on the way, it is hard to see the confidence index improving significantly in the near future.”
He added: “Most worryingly, the biggest drops in the component parts of the index were in expectations for the next 12 months for the country as a whole and for consumers themselves.”
After climbing into positive territory last month, consumers’ expectations for their personal finances over the next 12 months fell back to -3. This is slightly lower than the index score in May 2009.
The sub-index measuring confidence in the general economic situation over the next year dropped sharply to -9 from -1. However, Britons are more optimistic about the economy over the past 12 months with the index recording -45, 34 points higher than this time last year.
Consumers are also trying to deleverage: fewer Britons think that now is a good climate in which to make a major purchase. Compared to May 2009, more consumers think that now is a good time to save money.