UK consumer confidence does not bode well for the country's economy in 2006.

In stark contrast to optimistic December figures for the US [WAMN: 30-Dec-05], the British index has fallen to -9, according to latest figures issued by researcher GfK NOP.

Consumer spending, which accounts for around two-thirds of the UK economy, was hit in 2005 by higher taxes and increased household bills.

The confidence report will not receive a warm welcome by the country's Chancellor Gordon Brown, who revealed at the beginning of December that the economy had grown by just 1.75% this year, half the hoped-for rate.

Comments economist George Johns: "This release does not paint a very bright picture of conditions in the consumer sector."

Data sourced from Telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff