UK consumers 'gloomy despite recovery'

Consumers are little more confident about their own finances than they were a year ago despite more optimism that the economy is improving

Shoppers on Northumberland Street in Newcastle
Shoppers on Northumberland Street in Newcastle

Consumers are little more confident about their own finances than they were a year ago despite more optimism that the economy is improving, according to a survey.

The Lloyds Bank Spending Power report found that overall sentiment in December was markedly higher than a year before, as the recovery has taken hold, unemployment has fallen and inflation has dropped back.

However, 46% still said their own personal finances were either not good or not good at all, compared to 48% in the same month in 2012.

Meanwhile, 77% shared similarly gloomy views about the country’s financial situation, but this was a marked improvement from a year ago when the figure stood at 91%.

The gulf in perceptions about the state of household finances and the wider economy comes as wage growth still lags behind inflation despite the recovery in gross domestic product accelerating during 2013.

There also appears to be pessimism about any improvement in the immediate future, with the majority of UK consumers believing they will have less discretionary income in six months’ time.

Philip Robinson, Lloyds Bank’s director of personal current accounts, said: “Despite confidence about the UK’s economic situation almost doubling, there is little change in sentiment towards consumers’ personal financial situation, over the past 12 months.”

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