Belfast Telegraph

Households in UK 'more optimistic' about family budgets

By Roger Baird

Households in the UK feel more optimistic about family budgets than at any time over the last six years, a report says.

The seasonally adjusted Markit Household Finance Index measure of financial well-being for the next 12 months climbed to a record 51.6 in December, from 50.3 last month, as inflation fell and concerns about job security eased.

A reading over 50 separates pessimism from optimism.

Optimism was evident among construction workers for the first time since August, but retail workers were the most downbeat for the third consecutive month.

The report found that household concerns over inflation were muted at 69.3, from 73 two months ago, as official data showed that quarterly average earnings excluding bonuses grew by 1.6%.

This comes after Office for National Statistics data said yesterday that inflation fell to a 12-year low of 1% after the collapse in the price of oil drove down petrol prices and other costs.

The Markit survey said that around 31% of households expect interest rates to remain on hold until at least the end of next year.

Markit economist Philip Leake said: "The 12-month outlook for financial well-being was the most optimistic in the survey's six-year history in December."

Belfast Telegraph