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 81.

    This should not be surprise. For 50% of the UK the effect of the slump has been marginal. For a lot of private sector employees have had 3% -4% pay rises in spite of the rhetoric on HYS. If you are on a zero hrs contract there is no sign of improvement. A divided UK and getting wider but the been is too busy pushing the Tory line.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    What happened to the 'Have your say' section when the story last week was 52% of people struggling to pay there bills? BBC is a disgrace....just a propaganda machine!

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Quite a lot of left wing cynicism in here, which is understandable given the embarrassment of the moaning and wailing about "austerity" (which it wasn't) that proved completely incorrect. Many "borrow and waste" commentators starting to look very silly (Steph Flanders among them), the UK did very well during the recession really, avoiding the worst excesses of the Eurozone. Well done chaps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    I wish the Government would open their own HYS on the political bias of the BBC - it's not even well hidden any more. How can anyone have any respect for this organisation when it deliberately 'cherry picks' its own news items to further its own political agenda. A disgrace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    You cannot spend what you do not have! Unless you borrow - might work for Governments, but not for individuals!

    The cost of labour is currently undervalued, with all the money going to the owners of capital, who do not find anything worthwhile to invest their cash piles in (except property), because people do not have the money to spend on goods ad services. Not even good for them long-term

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    I've seen & heard enough over the past decade with Banks et al to now realise the "Economy" is all smoke & mirrors. As we make so little in the UK now nothing is tangible. Its all futures, derivatives, bonds, percentages etc etc, which is just waste paper with nothing to back it up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    "Moan Moan Moan - I've travelled extensively and the Brits are known the world over for our moaning !!!"

    A twilight world no one else has travelled? To suggest the "Brits" are known all over the world as "moaners" is absolute nonsense.

    No the economy won't improve although I have no doubt the figures will be fiddled in time for the 2015 election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    51. Gratters

    People with your attitude are exactly why the majority of the county are suffering at the moment.

    You just don't get it. You don't understand how people are being affected in reality.

    Many people are struggling to make ends meet while seeing the City grow infinitely richer. Yet the Government continues to protect the City while hurting those down at the bottom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    It can hardly get worse. Can it? Therefore it has to get better!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Little Chef sold to Kuwait firm - interesting as it is not something that can be asset stripped and shipped abroad, so this firm has some idea that it can be turned around and back into profit, shame no one in the UK has this belief.
    As for my own thoughts, we will see further changes for the worse before recovery, we need to let the housing bubble pop before it's too late.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    So the economy will get better for who, thats the important question. Lloyds TSB report a profit and ministers say we will get it ready for the sale of OUR shares, to the private sector, the ones who fiddled millions out of it.. Tell me why are we not getting interest or dividend on the shares. Also all profit MUST be returned to the tax payers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    "Perhaps if the last lot hadnt poured all money in the pockets on consultancy firms because they were themselves clueless on how to run a country..."

    That's funny bearing in mind the number of inquiries the Tories have instigated so they can pass the blame if a policy fails. If they hadn't been so keen to line their chums pockets they could have improved on the 1% growth they inherited.

  • 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 68.

    The economy is improving if you are a corporate fatcat. Here's why : You are evading tax. You are using the recession as an excuse to cut wages and working hours for staff. You have some staff on zero hours contracts. You expect the taxpayer to make up the shortfall you pay your staff in the form of Income Support. The govt does not give a damn about ordinary hardworking people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Come on, there must be more imaginative propaganda/disinformation than that. I thought that Central Office was flush with Hedgiecash.

    Still, if you've personally actually seen "evidence" of improved confidence, I'm sure most people will sleep easier - how does it manifest? Graffiti on factory gates saying "we're more confident now"?


  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    The economy might improve but as long as we've got this bunch of toffs in charge it isn't going to filter down to the man in the street, I'm sure there'll always be able to find a reason to screw us over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Saw a piccy the other day - if the average CEO takes 4 minutes having a leak, he has just earned the same as a year's minimum wage.

    Antidepressants save others from overdue justice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    The only component of the UK economy that will improve is in the reduction of the UK deficit, this of course at the expense of the most vulnerable. The effect of these cuts, the discontinuation of many public services, the loss of grants, huge budget cuts etc have yet to filter down and will ensure little growth.

  • 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 62.

    Maybe the man on the Clapham Omnibus thinks that today, but what will he say when interest rates go up?

    Clever government ministers create schemes to benefit property developers whilst burying their heads in the sand KNOWING that mortgage rates will have to increase with dire consequences.

    Another slump with high repossessions on the horizon?


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