UK’s households facing hard times ahead of Christmas

Tim Wallace
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INCOMES took a further battering in November and consumers expect house prices to fall further into next year, according to today’s Nationwide consumer confidence survey which recorded a tiny rise in confidence.

The headline consumer confidence index rose four points in the month to 40, still 37 points below its long run average of 77 and seven points lower than the same point last year.

Expectations for future economic conditions also rose to 55 from 48 as employment and income hopes grew.

Economist Robert Gardner warned the rise should not be overstated.

“There have been few positive developments in the wider economy to lift consumers’ spirits in recent months,” he said. “Signs that inflation has passed its peak may have provided some comfort, but at 4.8 per cent in November, the cost of living was still rising at more than twice the pace of underlying inflation.”

The spending index rose very slightly, from 75 in October to 77 in November, which “suggests trading conditions will remain difficult for retailers in the run up to Christmas.”