More than eight in ten Britons do not expect to be better off in 2014 despite the gathering pace of the UK's economic recovery, according to a poll.
A mere 12% thought they would be in a better financial position, despite hype from Chancellor George Osborne that he had put the UK firmly on the path to prosperity with his tough austerity programme of public spending cuts to clear the Treasury's deficit.
There was more bad news on the economy in the survey of 1,001 Britons by PR agency Edelman for its 14<sup>th annual trust and credibility report. A majority of Britons (52%) said it was the efforts of business not the government (25%) driving the country's recovery.
The findings fit with opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband's "cost of living crisis" narrative on the UK recovery, which he claims is not filtering down to ordinary people despite rising output.
In real terms, wages are in decline with consumer price inflation accelerating faster than pay growth. Moreover consumers are facing ever-higher household bills, such as for energy and rent.
This is even as growth in the UK economy picks up faster than expected and a number of leading forecasters, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revise up their forecasts for 2014.
Yet Miliband is trusted less against his own party than the Conservatives' leader David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats' chief Nick Clegg.
Of those polled, 33% trusted Miliband against 41% who trusted his party. For Cameron, 33% trusted him against 37% who trusted the Tories, and Nick Clegg had a trust rate of 27% against 31% for the Lib Dems.
Overall trust in the government tumbled to 42% from 47% in 2013. The biggest reason was poor performance (39%).
"The government is dealing with more than one deficit at the moment. The trust deficit it is experiencing suggests politicians aren't reaping political capital from the change in economic fortunes," said Ed Williams, Edelman's UK chief executive.
"There really is no room for UK business to be complacent, but these results indicate there is an opportunity for companies to fill the government trust vacuum by playing a more active role in shaping policy, regulation and driving economic recovery."