By Ian McConnell

The last six months of consumer confidence index gains have been lost amid the fuel crisis and labour shortages, according to the latest analysis from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The pair’s consumer confidence index fell in September by 2.3 points to 110.5, a level last seen in April when coronavirus-related restrictions were only just starting to lift. The outlook on household finances has worsened considerably, the analysis found. Many households reported a deterioration in finances in the past month. YouGov conducts more than 6,000 consumer confidence interviews a month.

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Darren Yaxley, director of reputation research at YouGov, said: “YouGov’s consumer confidence index has been consistently increasing since the record low of May 2020 to a high of 113.6 this summer, until now. The gains made during this year’s summer have been undone and scores are now back to a level last seen six months ago in April."

He added: “The past few months of rising prices, bill increases and a fuel crisis brought on by labour shortages have decimated Britons’ confidence in their personal finances for the coming year, meaning Brits are less and less confident that that their household finances will improve.

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"In fact, the decrease in outlook for household finances is the second largest on record, indicating the extent of the uncertainty among the public. With almost every metric declining apart from job security and home value for the past 30 days, September’s consumer confidence index is a sober read.”

Kay Neufeld, head of forecasting and thought leadership at YouGov, said: "September’s drop in the consumer confidence index comes as no surprise following a month of headline-dominating crises, from the spike in gas prices and energy providers going bust to the recent fuel shortages and empty supermarket shelves.

"While inflation has been on the rise for a while, the effects have started to become more tangible in recent weeks for the average consumer, further exacerbated by the termination of several government pandemic support schemes such as the Universal Credit uplift and the furlough scheme."

She added: "The largest decreases in this month’s index were recorded in the household finance measures, with consumers concerned about the erosion of their purchasing power through higher inflation. Decreases in the business activity and the forward-looking job security measures further confirm that the economic recovery has hit a speed bump.”