Household spending eased in March
According to a survey by Lloyd’s bank, our essential household spending slowed down last month, growing by less than 1%. Food costs have eased, and the fall in petrol prices has helped. This is also causing inflation to go down: in March it fell by 1.6%.
So should we all be breathing a sigh of relief?
Well, Lloyds are optimistically seeing this slowdown as economic improvement, rather than desperate cost-cutting measures by people who can’t actually afford to buy food or to run their cars. Patrick Foley from Lloyds, no doubt wearing a striped shirt from Thomas Pink and leafing through a copy of Top Gear magazine, said:
‘The economic backdrop for consumers continues to improve, as ongoing growth in employment, and pay growth that finally begins to keep pace with inflation, feeds through to rising confidence.
As pressure on consumer wallets from essential spending continues to ease, both the willingness and capacity to undertake discretionary spending is likely to rise in the months ahead.'
Er, maybe hold your horses with your ‘discretionary spending’ on a gazebo and a new nest of tables, though - we’re not out of the woods yet. Energy bills still went up by 3%. Meanwhile, 71% of people surveyed in the Lloyd’s Spending Power survey said that the financial situation in Britain was ‘not good at all’. And pretty much everybody in the North East is unemployed and feeling very bleak indeed.
But apparently we’re slowly paying off our debts and consumer confidence is gradually improving. Unless you’re on the dole and eating your own hair, that is.