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UK consumer confidence holds at 12-year high ahead of election: GfK

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British consumer morale held steady at its highest level in more than 12 years in April, mixed news for Prime Minister David Cameron before the May 7 national election, according to researchers GfK.

[LONDON] British consumer morale held steady at its highest level in more than 12 years in April, mixed news for Prime Minister David Cameron before the May 7 national election, according to researchers GfK.

GfK said its monthly consumer confidence index was unchanged at +4 in April from March, in line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

The survey showed Britons took a slightly brighter view of the economy and their personal finances over the last 12 months. But they were no more optimistic about the coming year than they were last month.

"The government goes into the election with the final Consumer Confidence Barometer offering mixed fortunes," said Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK.

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"On the one hand, there is no continuing momentum - the index has not risen since last month - while on the other hand the index is standing at a far higher point than when the government came to power."

With inflation at zero, a gradual recovery in pay is giving some relief to workers who suffered an almost unprecedented loss of spending power during Cameron's five-year term.

But his Conservative Party remains deadlocked in opinion polls with the main opposition Labour Party which says Britain is in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis.

A separate consumer confidence survey from polling firm YouGov and economic consultancy CEBR published on Wednesday suggested morale fell for the first since December.

Recent data on the British economy have been mixed. Economic growth slowed sharply in the first three months of this year, according to official data on Tuesday, although most economists expect the recovery will continue at a decent pace through 2015.

REUTERS

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