Yorkshire adults take bleak view of economy

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YORKSHIRE consumers are taking a bleaker view of economic prospects than the rest of Britain, according to new research.

The study, carried out by wealth advice business Towry, found that 36 per cent of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber are more worried about their finances than they were this time last year.

Across the UK, 30 per cent of all UK adults said they had become more concerned about their finances over the last 12 months, according to Towry’s research.

Toby Alcock, Towry’s senior client partner in Leeds, said the UK economy was “in the eye of the storm”, adding: “In our region, people are feeling a bit more concerned than they are nationally.”

According to Mr Alcock, one of the reasons for the relative gloom in Yorkshire could be the fact that the public sector is a major employer here.

The public sector has faced steep spending cuts since the financial crisis of 2008, which has led to job losses.

At the same time, consumers are seeing their bills go up, but their wages aren’t keeping pace with inflation.

When asked why they were more pessimistic, 52 per cent of Yorkshire respondents said it was because their outgoings had increased over the past year.

A quarter of the respondents also said they had more debt now than they did a year ago.

Altogether, 38 per cent of adults who were quizzed in Yorkshire and the Humber said they felt worse off than they did this time last year, compared with a national average of 34 per cent.

Only nine per cent of Yorkshire respondents said they felt better off.

Fourteen per cent of those questioned on behalf of Towry said that their biggest fear was being made redundant. Nine per cent said they would be unable to go on holiday this year.

“Some people are reluctant to indulge themselves in a holiday,” said Mr Alcock.

Respondents in Yorkshire and the Humber said they were worried about unemployment, rising inflation, and the possibility of the euro collapsing.

Mr Alcock said that people 
who “grasped the nettle” and 
carried out robust financial planning would be better placed to deal with wider economic problems.

According to Mr Alcock, Leeds is bucking the trend with a number of positive developments such as the Trinity Leeds retail scheme, which will open later this month, and the Leeds Arena, which is due to open later this year.

Opinium Research carried out 2,010 online surveys on behalf of Towry between January 30 and February 5, 2013, among a representative sample of UK adults.

Results have been weighted to a nationally representative criteria. Of the 2,010 total respondents, 172 were based in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The odds of more money-printing by the Bank of England narrowed earlier this month after “awful” manufacturing figures cast a further shadow over the economy.

Manufacturing fell 1.5 per cent month-on-month in January. Economists said this increases the likelihood of Britain falling into a triple-dip recession after the economy contracted by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2012.

However, there have been more positive signs of economic activity. In February, UK retail sales produced their strongest monthly result in three years, according to the figures from the British Retail Consortium. Sales unexpectedly rose by 2.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis in February, boosting retailers’ confidence at a time when many high street stores are going out of business.

Earlier this month, Helen Dickinson, of the British Retail Consortium, said: “After the disappointing figures that brought 2012 to a close, it’s reassuring that the sales momentum established during an encouraging January has built (up) and not faded.”

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