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Record-Breaking Gloom Grips Britain As ‘Nightmare’ Winter Approaches

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A record-breaking economic gloom is gripping Britain as households brace for a “nightmare” winter of soaring costs.

Consumer confidence has plummeted to its lowest ever level as the Bank of England increases interest rates to counter rocketing inflation, according to a closely watched survey from the data company GfK. [bold, links added]

Meanwhile, separate data showed that a host of industries are in contraction, a sign the country is teetering on the brink of recession.

GfK blamed acute concerns over the cost of living for a drop in its confidence index to -44, the lowest it has been since launching in 1974.

The outlook darkened on every one of GfK’s measures, with Britons feeling increasingly pessimistic about their finances and the general economy at present and over the next year.

The bleak outlook is unlikely to be enough to prevent the Bank of England from a spate of further interest rate rises to control inflation, which reached a new 40-year high of 10.1pc in July.

Joe Staton, of GfK, said: “These findings point to a sense of capitulation, of financial events moving far beyond the control of ordinary people.

“With headline after headline revealing record inflation eroding household buying power, the strain on the personal finances of many in the UK is alarming.

“Just making ends meet has become a nightmare and the crisis of confidence will only worsen with the darkening days of autumn and the colder months of winter.

At -60, the sub-gauge for how Britons see the economy performing a year from now was also a record low.

Linda Ellett, head of consumer markets at KPMG, said people “are either already struggling with rising costs, or are fearing what’s looming on the horizon.

The report comes as data this morning is expected to show retail sales excluding fuel dropped by 0.3pc last month, a further blow to Britain’s high streets.

Chris Hare, an economist at HSBC, said some external price pressures appear to be easing as global supply chain entanglements ease, but warned domestic inflation is on the march.

He said: “For now, the UK’s cost-of-living outlook keeps getting worse.

Read rest at Daily Telegraph

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