Consumer confidence ‘on the up’ says report

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CONSUMERS are becoming more confident with their own finances and in the country’s economy, according to a report.

The public’s confidence in their household finances has grown to its highest levels in at least four years, says The Lloyds Spending Power Report.

The report, which started in early 2011, revealed that the a positive swing in sentiment took its overall index to a new all-time high reading of 158 points in March.

People’s views about the country’s financial situation and the employment market are also growing more positive, the index found. Lloyds said that consumers’ spending on essentials continued to fall in March.

Overall, the report said that essential spending growth is still being held down by lower gas and electricity spending as well as lower fuel spending compared with last year.

Meanwhile, regular outgoings such as mortgage payments are being kept relatively affordable amid strong competition from lenders to offer cheap rates.

Patrick Foley, chief economist at Lloyds Bank, said consumers were becoming more confident as a “stronger economic backdrop” continued to develop.

The report comes on the back of April’s Household Finance Index which suggested that household finances for Yorkshire’s “squeezed middle” are at their highest for six years.

Meanwhile, attitudes to the Living Wage are changing. Almost eight in 10 adults in Yorkshire have heard of it, according to KPMG.

However, only one in four believe that getting households out of poverty is the biggest issue facing the next government.

One in four earners in Yorkshire are paid below the Living Wage, which is £7.85 per hour outside London.