British households are feeling the tightest squeeze on their finances in three years. The latest survey comes as London Fashion Week is in full swing. As Sonia Legg reports, the industry has issued a plea to protect the city's international outlook as uncertainty about Brexit hangs in the air for the second year in a row.
The tightest squeeze in three years and that's not a reference to the latest designs on show at this year's London Fashion Week. It's the finances of British households that are feeling the pinch. IHS Market's monthly index fell more than half a point in September with the quarter's average at its lowest since 2014. The Bank of England didn't help last week by signalling it was close to raising rates. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS, MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM SAYING: "Certainly the market is fully pricing in a rate rise to the Bank of England by February of next year and about a three in four chance of a rate rise by December of this year." Combine that with fast-rising inflation and not so rapidly increasing wages and there's less cash for buying those latest designs. With Brexit looming too the fashion industry is nervous. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL CHIEF EXECUTIVE CAROLINE RUSH SAYING (when asked about Brexit concerns): "What it is about is being ready and making sure that we have the case studies, the information, the evidence to back up why we feel as an industry we are pushing for talent, for visas and for, of course, the tariff free access and the frictionless borders.' London is staging 90 shows and presentations over five days. Anya Hindmarch just one of the British talents making up a largely anti-Brexit industry. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTINE SIMONS OBE DEPUTY MAYOR FOR CULTURE AND CREATIVE INDUSTRIES SAYING (when asked about London's creative industry post-Brexit): "When polled 96 percent of the creative industries voted to stay in the EU so what is quite clear is the value placed on our European trade relations by the creative industries." Big business is on the government's case too. An industry body representing more than 100 major firms is calling for a three year transition deal to protect jobs and give Britain more time to remodel its economy.