Talk of a "hard Brexit" and a fresh fall in the value of the pound triggered a drop in UK consumer confidence in October, a new survey has revealed.

The YouGov/Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) consumer confidence index fell to 109.3 from 111.5 in September.

Excluding a sharp plunge in the index in the wake of the EU referendum in June, the October reading is the lowest recorded in just over three years.

A score above 100 means more people are optimistic than pessimistic.

Seven of the eight underlying measures of the index fell over the past month, with consumers' assessment of their household financial situation suffering its biggest monthly fall since December 2014.

"The flash crash in the pound and fears of a 'hard' Brexit have taken their toll on consumer confidence and 2017 looks set to be a challenging year for UK households," said CEBR director Scott Corfe.

"The decline in the value of the sterling will push up the price of a wide range of imported goods — including food — next year.

UK consumers
The survey suggests consumers are bracing for a squeeze on their finances in 2017 Reuters

"At the same time, earnings growth shows little sign of picking up meaning there will be a further squeeze on family finances in 2017."

The poll, complied from over 6,000 interviews, revealed that job security was the only measure that consumers were more optimistic about over the coming year.

Stephen Harmison, head of YouGov, added: "People have already noticed increasing prices after the government signalled it would seek a 'hard' Brexit and the exchange rate slumped as a result.

People hold European Union flags outside the High Court in Central London Stefan Wermuth/ Reuters

"Consumers pay attention — they know that it is likely that this situation will only get worse over the next year as Britain starts to negotiate its departure from the EU."

Data released by the Office for National Statistics on 27 October showed that the UK economy expanded 0.5% between July and September, beating analyst expectations for 0.3% growth.