politics

Half expect economy to get worse with winter fuel crisis



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conomic optimism has plunged amid growing fears of a winter fuel and inflation crisis, according to a new poll.

The exclusive Ipsos MORI survey for the Evening Standard showed a majority of UK adults, 53 per cent, now expect the economy to get worse over the next 12 months, up significantly from 39 per cent in August. Just 31 per cent believe it will improve, compared with 44 per cent in August.

The results give a net Economic Optimism Index of minus 22 compared with plus five at the end of the summer.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “The relative optimism we saw for the economy as vaccines were rolled out earlier this year has been replaced with pessimism, and the rate of concern seems to be accelerating. Women, the middle-aged, renters and public sector workers are among the most concerned about the economy’s prospects, but worries are increasing across the board.” The survey was carried out before the petrol crisis escalated, but as the storm had broken over millions of households facing higher energy bills, the axing of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and National Insurance rises in the spring.

The poll findings came as the Bank of England governor warned that the economy faces “hard yards” ahead.

Andrew Bailey said the rate of recovery from the pandemic had slowed over recent months. He told the Society of Professional Economists’ annual dinner that interest rates would have to increase to slow rising prices, but said the economy was not currently strong enough to sustain that intervention.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,008 GB adults 18+ by phone, September 17-23. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. www.ipsos-mori.commori.com



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