Hopes of an ‘aspirational’ Budget have been shattered with consumers fearing for both the economy and their own finances, according to new uSwitch data.
Over a third of people (35%) feel the UK is more likely to slip back into a triple-dip recession following Chancellor George Osborne’s fourth Budget announcement, with almost half (45%) claiming that it will leave them worse off.
Despite the Chancellor’s attempts to appeal to middle England, 37% believe that the ‘squeezed middle’ will benefit the least from his proposals, while three quarters (78%) say savers have been forgotten.
Consumer confidence plummeting
Far from easing the pressure on hard-pressed consumers, almost half of Brits (44%) feel less confident about their finances.
In fact, few of Mr Osborne’s ‘goodwill’ measures seem to have won over the nation. Three in ten (29%) are opposed to plans to knock a ‘penny off a pint’ and 31% feel indifferent, while the new childcare tax relief scheme has also failed to impress, with over half (54%) of parents claiming it’s ‘too little, too late’.
But despite a lukewarm response to some measures, others have had a better reception. The vast majority of consumers (88%) welcome the rise in the personal tax allowance to £10,000, while freezing fuel duty has also proved popular with more than nine in ten (91%) Brits.
Businesses and home-buyers the big winners
Overall, the Budget has been hailed a ‘triumph’ for business owners and home-buyers. Four in ten (43%) say the Budget will help businesses, while 52% believe first-time buyers will benefit the most.
Overall, 65% of consumers claim their financial situation has got worse since David Cameron and the Coalition came to power in 2010 – but very few believe their situation would improve under new leadership.
One in five (21%) think they will be worse off under a Labour Government and 37% don’t think it would make difference.
Not enough to help spiralling living costs
Michael Ossei, uSwitch personal finance expert, says: “Home-buyers and small businesses may be jumping for joy following this week’s Budget, but most of middle England has been left stuck in the mud.
“People did not expect much from the Budget but have received even less than they had hoped for – taking 1p off a pint is not going to cut it for the millions of homes struggling to pay their essential bills every month.
“For many, the Government simply hasn’t done enough to help households cope with spiralling cost of living. What is somewhat depressing is that most consumers don’t feel a change in Government would make any difference to their finances – leaving them feeling trapped in a financial cul-de-sac.
“But there are always things you can do to help improve your finances, no matter how small. The Budget is an opportunity to step back and review your finances, so that you pay no more than you have to on essential bills.”