There is no change in the depressed level of consumer confidence in March (-28) - a level where a recession is likely.
The impact of the March Budget and the rises in tax, national insurance and cuts in benefits in the new tax year all point to further pressure on stretched household finances. This month saw little positive news behind the headline figure with Financial Wellbeing and Misery Indices both falling towards survey lows. Inflation expectations in the next 12 months (11%) are now at double-digit levels.
Around the UK…
Confidence improved in five regions in March and fell in two regions. Biggest gain is in Northern Ireland (up 6 points to –32). Confidence picked up 3 points in London to -26 following a 7-point slump in February, although sentiment in the Capital remains relatively downbeat. Confidence also saw 1point gains in Scotland, Wales and the South, where confidence is strongest. Confidence fell in the North (down 1 point) and is weakest in the Midlands, down 5 points on the month.
Compared to a year ago all regions except for the Midlands show double-digit falls in confidence with Wales (down 19 points) and London (down 15 points) experiencing the biggest losses.