UK consumer confidence suffers ‘astonishing collapse’

“The most closely-watched barometer of consumer confidence revealed an “astonishing collapse” in January as the VAT rise took effect, according to market research group GfK NOP. The first taste of the fiscal tightening to have a widespread impact on consumers appeared to have hit sentiment hard, researchers said, even before the full impact of the public spending cuts is felt… The eight-point plunge in optimism took the barometer’s headline reading to -29, the lowest since March 2009, when the UK was mired deep in the last recession. ”