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Christmas spending plans 'static'

Most Britons are planning to spend the same amount of money or more this Christmas than they did last year, typically splashing out £526 on family and friends.

A fifth of people plan to increase the amount of cash they spend this year and around half will spend a similar amount to 2011, compared with 17% who plan to cut back, HSBC found.

The study predicted from its findings that people will spend an average £347 on gifts for their immediate family, as well as £179 on food, drink and entertainment.

People in Wales were named Britain's biggest Christmas spenders, splashing out £656 each on average, made up of £484 on gifts and £172 on food, drink and entertainment. The comparative figures in Scotland are £343 and £172.

Just 9% of people living in London said they plan to cut back on their Christmas spending this year, compared with around a fifth of those in the West Midlands, eastern England, the South East, the South West and the East Midlands.

Younger people were particularly optimistic about being able to increase their festive spending this year, with 29% of people aged 18 to 24 saying they plan to do this. HSBC suggested this could mean some younger people are feeling an improvement in their levels of disposable income.

The study will boost retailers' hopes, after figures last week showed an end to the longest double-dip recession since 1950. Inflation also eased to its lowest level for nearly three years in September.

However, household finances are set to come under more pressure this winter, with five major energy companies announcing price hikes in recent weeks and food and some mortgage costs on the rise.

Two thirds of people (65%) said they were going to fund their shopping through their salary or another source of income, while four in 10 (38%) will dip into their savings.

Almost a fifth (17%) of people said they are planning to take on more debt to pay for their Christmas gifts.


From Belfast Telegraph