Consumer confidence in Britain has risen to the highest level in more than a decade after Boris Johnson’s decisive election victory, according to a survey.
In the latest signal of a bounce for the economy since the start of the year, a poll by IHS Markit showed households’ optimism over their finances and the economy increased in February to the highest point since the survey records began 11 years ago.
The IHS Markit household finance index, which measures Britons’ perceptions of financial wellbeing from 1,500 survey responses compiled by the pollsters Ipsos Mori, rose to 47.6 this month from 44.6 in January.
In the decade since the financial crisis, the index has not exceeded 50.0, the level that indicates improving conditions. The new figures suggest conditions facing families in Britain have become less challenging.
The future household finance index, which measures expected changes in financial health over the next 12 months, rose from 49.6 to 52.7, surpassing the previous peak in January 2015.
The improvement in the survey, which is monitored for early warning signs about the economy, could pave the way for an increase in consumer spending after one of the toughest years for embattled high street retailers.
Retail sales failed to rise for a record fifth month in a row in December – the longest period since 1996 – as household spending fell by 0.6% on the month. Several retailers, including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, have reported disappointing trading updates for the pivotal festive season.
IHS Markit said households showed a lower degree of pessimism about job security in February. Expectations for the cost of living also improved amid low official levels of inflation over recent months. Perceptions of house prices also increased at the strongest rate in almost three years.
Joe Hayes, an economist at IHS Markit, said the poll showed a rise in optimism about the country’s immediate economic prospects. “Post-election survey data so far scores a fairly good chance a first-quarter GDP pickup after a flat end to 2019,” he said.