More than a quarter of people claim they have “no spare cash” as pressures on personal budgets mount, a consumer survey has found.
The proportion of people saying they have nothing to spare is up six percentage points on the same time last year at 27%, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Survey by the Nielsen Company and the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The poll also showed that overall consumer confidence was lower at the end of 2010 than the beginning.
However, there was a two percentage point increase in the number of respondents who said they thought job prospects would be “excellent” or “good” in the coming 12 months, to 22%, and a one percentage point increase in the number of people who believed that their personal finances would be “excellent” or “good” in the coming year, to 35%.
There was also a six point drop in the number of people saying they thought now was a “bad” time to spend.
The survey was undertaken in the run up to Christmas and the uplift is likely to be a seasonal fluctuation rather than the start of a fundamental change of mood, said the BRC.
Furthermore, 82% of consumers still believe Britain is in recession while only 14% believe Britain will be out of recession within 12 months, the lowest figure of the year.
Increasing utility bills have become the main concern for the coming months, overtaking the economy. More people are also worried about rising fuel bills, and concerns over food prices, jobs and debt continue to feature highly.
Fewer people said they were spending disposable income on holidays, clothes, home improvements, new technologies and investments, while the number of people saying they were saving dropped from 34% to 31%.
More people claimed to be paying off debts and credit cards with spare money.