UK consumer confidence has risen to pre-recession levels, with those willing to spend money at the highest level on record, new data has shown.
Nielsen's UK Consumer Confidence Index hit 97 for the first quarter of 2015, the fifth consecutive quarter of growth. A score above 100 indicates degrees of optimism. The last time it was higher was 2006, when Tony Blair was serving his third term as PM, the base interest rate was 4.5%, and Facebook first opened to the public.
Nielsen UK managing director Steve Smith said: "Consumer confidence in the UK continues to rise. The UK is one of the fastest growing major economies, unemployment is falling and people are benefiting from zero inflation and lower prices in supermarkets and petrol stations."
It is the first time in 7.5 years that the UK Index is now no lower than the Global Index, also at 97.
The report showed that almost half of Brits are now feeling positive about their job prospects with a similar number believing that now is a good time to make purchases. Those feeling positive about their personal finances rose 5 points to 50%, the highest level for 7 years.
Smith added: "Whilst the majority of people are still cost-cutting – perhaps habitually now – wages, for others, are rising faster than household expenses. This is leading to more optimism about their future spending, so we expect to see confidence continue to rise in 2015."
The Nielsen European Consumer Confidence Index stands at 77. Within the region, Denmark has the highest index (106), Ukraine the lowest (41). Ukraine's is also the lowest globally, among all 60 countries measured, while India's is the highest (130).