December 20, 2011 / 7:17 AM / 9 years ago

Consumer confidence up from record low

Shoppers walk pass sale signs and a busker along Oxford Street on the penultimate Saturday before Christmas in London December 17, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Consumer confidence edged up last month from October’s record low, but remained depressed by rising unemployment and high inflation, a survey from the Nationwide building society showed on Tuesday.

Nationwide’s seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index rose to 40 in November from 36 in October, but this is still the second-lowest reading in the survey’s seven-year history and is 7 points below its level in November last year.

“Consumers remain under pressure and concerned about future prospects, both for the wider economy and their own financial position,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

An improvement in Britons’ expectations for the next 12 months lifted the index, though this may prove temporary as the survey fieldwork was completed before finance minister George Osborne unveiled further fiscal austerity plans and a sharp downgrade to 2012 growth forecasts on November 29.

Britain’s economy is forecast to grow just 0.7 percent next year, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility that produces independent government forecasts.

Unemployment hit a 17-year high in the three months to October, and wages are rising at less than half November’s 4.8 percent rate of inflation.

Nationwide’s survey was based on a poll of 1,000 people conducted by TNS Research International from October 24 to November 20. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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