Belfast Telegraph

Consumer spending falls steeply in Republic

By Brendan Keenan

Almost 60% of people living in the Republic saw their gross pay fall last year, and most of the rest were on a pay freeze, a new survey shows.

The survey for Friends First investment house also found a widespread drop in consumer spending, with eating out and entertainment most likely to be curtailed.

Over 90% of the 1,000 18 to 44-year-olds surveyed by Empathy Research said they had cut back in these areas.

Almost 70% said their spending had decreased compared to last year, with the biggest proportion among the 35 to 44 age group.

Friends First chief economist Jim Power said that while the Irish economy had probably emerged from recession, the improvement would not be felt by consumers and very tough policy decisions would have to continue.

More than a third of those surveyed believe that their personal finances will worsen over the next 12 months while 21% believe they will improve.

In his latest quarterly economic outlook Mr Power said: "In this context it is imperative that Government continues to push ahead with its fiscal correction, but it is also imperative that private sector businesses continue to manage costs very tightly."