Consumers buoyant for positive 2015
Consumers' confidence in their financial situation has lifted to its highest levels in at least four years - boding well for a brightening economy in 2015, according to a report.
People's sentiment towards their own personal situation is at its highest since records began in 2011, with London found to be the most positive region in November and Scotland the least, the Lloyds Bank Spending Power Report found.
Consumer confidence has reached its highest score since the start of the index, climbing by three points since October to reach an overall score of 154.
The report said that gas, electricity and fuel bills have continued to fall, saving households almost £150 over the course of the year typically. Slightly warmer conditions over 2014 have also helped people to keep their heating bills down, it said.
Patrick Foley, chief economist at Lloyds Bank, said: "Falling fuel prices and reduced consumption of gas and electricity are now adding up to a noticeable reduction in the cost of essential spending.
"Together with job security continuing to improve, particularly for those who say that money is tight, this bodes well for an improvement in households' disposable incomes and a continuation of 2014's robust economic growth into 2015."
While 23% of people believe they will have more disposable cash to spend in the coming months and 17% think they will have less, most, at 56%, feel they will have about the same amount as they do now.
People in London continue to be the most optimistic about future discretionary income, while those living in Northern Ireland are the least positive.
Lloyds found that consumer sentiment towards the housing market is also improving, with the East Midlands and London in particular becoming more positive in recent weeks.
Attitudes towards the current employment situation have remained broadly stable since August, although compared with a year ago they have seen a large improvement, the report found.
Yorkshire and Humberside has seen a particularly large improvement in sentiment towards the employment situation in recent weeks, it said.
The report asks more than 2,000 people every month about their current and future spending habits as well as essential household bills.