UK consumers most confident in three years

CONSUMER confidence is at its highest point since 2010, as people become more cheerful about both the state of the economy and their own personal finances.

A new Spending Power Report, commissioned by Lloyds TSB, found that the level of concern around the UK economy dropped in April, with 43 per cent describing the country’s financial situation negatively, compared to 47 per cent in March.

There was also a small decline in the number of people who were downbeat about their personal finances, dipping from 49 per cent to 47 per cent over the same period, despite stagnant real wages.

The findings, based on a survey of 2,000 people, also found that consumer spending is up, but only in line with increases in inflation.

Expenditure rose particularly on utility bills, with four fifths of respondents noting rising prices for gas, electricity and water as worrying aspects of their finances.

Despite slightly more cheery attitudes, Lloyds’ chief economist, Patrick Foley, stayed doubtful of continued improvement. “We shouldn’t automatically expect improvements in sentiment to translate into improved consumer spending, with reductions in some benefit payments, weak wage growth and slowing employment”.