More consumers believe UK economy will improve - survey

Shopper with bags The consumer group tracks the spending habits and behaviours of 2,000 people every month

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More consumers think the UK economy will improve next year than those who think it will get worse, a survey has suggested.

In total, 36% of people questioned by consumer group Which? believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months.

However, the figures show that 29% of those questioned think it will worsen.

The proportion of people rating the economy as good was, at 13%, the highest since July last year.

But the survey suggested concerns about rising food, fuel and energy prices were leading one in three people to cut back on essentials.

The consumer group tracks the spending habits and behaviours of 2,000 people every month.

In July last year, the proportion of consumers rating the economy as good was 6%, the survey said.

Some 59% of respondents rated it as poor according to the current figures.

The top consumer worries remain unchanged since last year, with 81% concerned about fuel, followed by energy prices (79%) and food prices (73%).

'Surge of optimism'

Almost a third (31%) of respondents said they were finding it difficult or very difficult to manage on their current household income, and 20% remain worried about their job security.

The survey said that 36% of consumers were cutting back on essential household spending, compared with 25% in July last year.

More than a quarter (28%) have dipped into their savings to cover this month's spending and 21% have used an authorised overdraft facility in the last month, compared with 17% last July.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said: "While this surge of optimism shows that consumers are feeling more positive about the future of the economy, it isn't filtering through to how people feel about their own personal financial situation.

"The recent heatwave and the arrival of a royal baby may have contributed to the public mood but there is still no let-up for the millions of squeezed households who are struggling to get by.

"Unless things improve, we won't see the all important rise in consumer spending that is so vital to the UK's economic recovery."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    And if people believe that they will believe anything. My partner is in retail - a small business. He knows how tough it is as do his fellow traders. And I went to a major shopping mall today where 25% of the available outlets are closed and boarded up. And when interest rates go up - as they will - then the problems will really start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    lm not sure l believe this.. more were spending last month due to the weather, l expect to see a dip again once it gets cooler.. after all economic recovery doesnt just come from public spending but also government spending and since they are selling off sources of income one of the other l expect less to be injected into the economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    The economy will improve naturally as it always does, but I think this will be a long drawn out one, wage freezes for millions, inflation and zero hours contracts has given 1/2 population less to spend, an added problem is when the economy does improve, interest rates will go up and people will again feel the pain, so no happy days any time soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Oh dear this is bad news for the left. This shows that the necessary austerity measures are starting to work and people are getting more confident after a tough number of years. We are still not out of the woods yet though and there is still more pain to come, but hopefully we are over the worst. I have seen evidence of improved business confidence too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    I'm a small business owner and have made a loss this year. In the past two months our business has started to turn around. Our customers are mainly small business too and they've starting to spend money again. The amounts are small but significant. I'm optimistic about this - I have to be otherwise, like a lot of other people, I'd just give up!


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