Shoppers fear for economy

Marion Dakers
CONSUMER confidence has fallen to the lowest level since May 2009, amid rising everyday costs and jitters about the health of the economy.

Nationwide’s confidence index fell seven points to 56 today, the third consecutive monthly drop.

The number of households who believe their income will be lower in six months’ time is at the highest level since the survey began in 2004.

More consumers are delaying big purchases, and more than one in four (28 per cent) believe the economic landscape will be even worse by the end of the year.

“This is perhaps largely a product of consumers taking stock of their personal situation following the emergency Budget, although fears over the state of the job market and economy as a whole are still playing a part as the UK continues on its sluggish path to recovery,” said Nationwide’s chief economist Martin Gahbauer.

The Bank of England is widely tipped to lower its growth forecasts while raising inflation projections in its quarterly Inflation Report today, confirming to consumers the fragile state of the UK economy. Bank governor Mervyn King has recently warned of a possible slowdown throughout the Eurozone.