Inflation ate further into the budgets of British households last month, according to a survey of consumers, adding to signs that households will be feeling under pressure in the run-up to the June snap election planned by Prime Minister Theresa May. David Pollard reports.
There's no surprise who gets top billing in UK newspapers after Tuesday's election announcement. But as for the internet .... Brenda of Bristol is now a viral sensation for her candid response to the news. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRENDA, LOCAL RESIDENT, SAYING: "You're joking! Not another one! Oh for God's sake, I can't honestly, I can't stand this. There's too much politics going on at the moment, why does she need to do it?" The answer to that, says May, is simple. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY, SAYING: "Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the European Union." But Brenda and others may wonder what the UK's fourth national vote in four years will mean for the Brexit-weakened pound in their pockets. Sterling's sharp rebound on the news not nearly enough to ease worries over surging inflation .... On a pound still down around 14 per cent since last June's vote to leave the EU. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR ANALYST, HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, LAITH KHALAF, SAYING: "I think probably in the short term there does tend to be a certain hit to (consumer) confidence that is taken in the run-up to an election." If for now there's a thumbs up from currency markets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR ANALYST, HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, LAITH KHALAF, SAYING: "It looks like the markets are taking the story of a (UK Prime Minister, Theresa) May election victory at face value. They're expecting a strong majority for the Conservatives, based on the polls, of course." UPSOT (English) LEADER OF LABOUR PARTY, JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "So why are so many people getting poorer?" Even after Brexit and Trump, Theresa May's 21 per cent opinion poll lead makes another shock result unlikely. But without an economic programme to match her political ambitions, support may ebb away. One new survey reports the biggest reduction in household cash available to spend since August 2014. Even as sterling raises its head again, consumers said to be more downcast about their financial outlook than at nearly any other time in three years.