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UK consumers more confident as pay grows, inflation falls: survey

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British consumers have turned more upbeat as faster pay growth and very low inflation make them more confident about their finances, a poll showed on Thursday, little more than two months before a national election.

[LONDON] British consumers have turned more upbeat as faster pay growth and very low inflation make them more confident about their finances, a poll showed on Thursday, little more than two months before a national election.

Economic optimism rebounded strongly in February and stood at its highest level since September, according to the Household Economic Activity Tracker compiled by polling firm YouGov.

The proportion of consumers who think their finances worsened over the last month was at its lowest level since YouGov started its survey in 2009.

However, nine of 10 respondents in the survey said they were still not feeling the financial benefits of the recovery, a reminder of the impact of the financial crisis on earnings and living standards over the past five years. "It has been a long time coming but it looks like falling prices and rising incomes have started to seep through to people's wallets," said Stephen Harmston, head of YouGov Reports. "While (Prime Minister) David Cameron will look on the overall increase in consumer confidence positively, it remains to be seen whether it will make enough of a difference on polling day," he said.

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Cameron's Conservative Party remains almost neck-and-neck in opinion polls with the opposition Labour Party, raising questions about whether the recovery in the economy will help Cameron in his bid to retain power in the May 7 elections.

REUTERS

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