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U.K. Consumer Confidence Stalls as Recession Deepens, GfK Says

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U.K. Consumer Confidence Stalls as Recession Deepens, GfK Says
Data last week showed the economy shrank the most in more than three years in the second quarter, while reports yesterday showed retail-sales growth slowed and mortgage approvals dropped to the lowest in 18 months. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. consumer confidence was unchanged this month as efforts by the government and the Bank of England to pull the economy out of a recession failed to lift sentiment, GfK NOP Ltd. said.

An index of sentiment stayed at minus 29, the London-based research group said in an e-mailed report today. The gauge has been in a range of minus 29 to minus 31 for the past seven months. A measure of Britons’ outlook for the economy over the next 12 months rose 1 point.

“Things are looking very bleak for the government,” Nick Moon, GfK Social Research managing director, said in a statement. The failure of the index to improve “is a clear indication that all attempts by the government to improve the situation in the U.K. aren’t making any impressions on the public mood.”

Data last week showed the economy shrank the most in more than three years in the second quarter, while reports yesterday showed retail-sales growth slowed and mortgage approvals dropped to the lowest in 18 months. The central bank, which is pumping money into the economy, introduced a program with the Treasury last month to boost lending to households and companies.

The opposition Labour Party has said the government’s fiscal squeeze is to blame for Britain’s economic slump. A YouGov Plc poll published in the Sunday Times newspaper yesterday put Labour at 42 percent, ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives at 33 percent.

A measure of the outlook for the economy over the next 12 months increased to minus 30 in July from minus 31 in June, though that’s 3 points below the July 2011 figure, GfK said.

An index of the assessment of the economy over the previous year slipped 1 point to minus 59 and a measure of the climate for making major purchases rose 2 points to minus 26. A gauge of how Britons see their personal financial situation over the next year rose 1 point to minus 8. GfK interviewed 2,002 people from July 6 to July 15.

“The U.K. is now stuck in the worse double-dip recession since modern records began,” Moon said. “Consumer confidence remains as stagnant as the economy.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Svenja O’Donnell in London at sodonnell@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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