Consumer confidence highest for a decade

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Consumer confidence is at its highest level since 2009. A key factor has been identified as the Tories’ decisive December election victory.

In what is being seen as another sign of an economic new year bounce, households’ optimism over their finances and the economy increased in February since the survey records began, a poll  suggests.

The IHS Markit household finance index, which measures perceptions of financial wellbeing from 1,500 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 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 retailers.