UK is heading into recession – probably – as your savings run down

Consumer confidence has fallen off a cliff: will spending do the same – and, if so, will the UK economy go into reverse at the worst possible moment?

Be careful with those savings you racked up during the Covid-19 lockdowns, because you’re going to need them to ride out the cost of living crisis!

That’s the message, as far as This Writer can tell, from economist Simon Wren-Lewis on his Mainly Macro blog – and it’s as close to a prediction that the UK is going into recession as you’re likely to see.

Most economic forecasters aren’t saying it because they’re afraid to, it seems.

We know we’re looking at the biggest fall in living standards since records began in 1956-7, because of Brexit-fuelled increases in the cost of goods (including food), rising energy bills and the largest number of tax rises to be inflicted on a UK population in around 40 years.

You will be expected to use your savings to cushion this blow.

That’s fine – as long as you can be sure that the cost-of-living crisis will be only a short-term shock. But there’s no evidence that this is the case; the effects of Brexit are expected to last for decades, we’re being told to brace for another energy bill shock in October, and the Tories have absolutely no intention of reducing taxes – they want to squeeze you until your pips squeak.

With these expectations in mind, consumer confidence is flatlining:

“The GfK Consumer Confidence Index fell for the fourth month in a row to -31 from -26 in February, its lowest since November 2020, deep in the coronavirus pandemic. Readings of -30 and below have presaged recession on four out of five occasions since the survey started in 1974.” Since then the March data is available, and it’s at -38!

That’s the weakest consumer confidence since the 2008 financial crisis, and weaker than at any time during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So it seems likely that spending will tail off as the year progresses, people see how the cost-of-living shocks affect their savings, and improvements in their financial position fail to appear.

As spending tails off, the economy will falter. And the Tory government has already told us it does not have any plan to stimulate growth with an injection of public cash.

So, even if you have a well-stuffed savings account now, expect those funds to run low by the end of the year, while bills and taxes remain high. What are you going to do then?

Source: mainly macro: Is the UK heading for a recession?

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3 thoughts on “UK is heading into recession – probably – as your savings run down

  1. rotzeichen

    We have in fact been bouncing along the bottom of a depression ever since the financial crash. Petrol prices are sucking the last drops of people’s incomes, and if it persists will eventually crash the economy completely. When the private sector saves, the government should spend to make up the difference, when both sectors save, contraction is only outcome.

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