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18 Mar 2021 | 14:00

UK consumer confidence rises as end to lockdown beckons - GfK

(Sharecast News) - UK consumer confidence rose in March as the vaccine roll-out and the government's plan to end lockdown raised spirits, a survey showed. GfK's consumer confidence index improved by 7 points to -16 in March as households' view of their future finances rose to a three-year high and all measures gained. The overall index score has risen in the first three months of 2021.

Consumers' view of their own finances over the next 12 months rose to 10 from 4 and their view of the previous 12 months increased to -2 from -8.

After the worst downturn for at least 300 years, consumers' view of the economy over the past 12 months rose 4 points but remained deeply gloomy at -60. But the outlook for the next 12 months improved to -17 from -30. As a result, households' likelihood to make a major purchase gained eight points to -11.

The figures were compiled as the Covid-19 vaccine programme continued at a steady pace and after the government set out tentative plans to reopen the economy in full during June. Chancellor Rishi Sunak's budget also delayed tax increases on consumption, provided further backing for the housing market and extended support measures for businesses and jobs.

Joe Staton, GfK's client strategy director, said: "Spring is in the air on the back of well-received budget announcements, the successful vaccine roll-out and roadmaps in place for ending lockdown. All measures jumped in March with the overall index score up a robust 7 points. This marks an improvement each month into 2021.

"If this improved mood translates into spending, it might help reverse some of the economic damage the UK has suffered. It's highly likely this upward trajectory on all measures will build over the next six months and beyond."

GfK interviewed 2,000 people between 1 March and 12 March.

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