Britons feeling worse off

The North East and West Midlands have the highest percentage of consumers who feel financially insecure with 58% of the population in these regions feeling pessimistic about the state of their finances and future prospects.

The North East has seen the biggest increase over this period, rising 11% over the first nine months of the year.

Londoners have also fared badly over the same period, despite often being seen as the more affluent region.

At the start of the year London was the least negative region with only 46% of residents in the capital feeling apprehensive about their financial situation.

By the end of the September over half of all Londoners (53%) were losing confidence in their financial prospects, an increase of 7%.

The region's mood is reflected in spending power trends which have seen Londoners hit hardest by the squeeze on discretionary spending.

Annual discretionary spending power growth in London was the lowest of all the regions.

In September, discretionary spending power was just 1.7% well below current levels of inflation which are at 5.2%.

At the same time incomes also grew at a slower rate. Incomes in London were 1.1% higher than they were a year ago in September, which accounts for a real term fall once inflation is taken into account.

Consumers aged between 30 and 44 years, along with the under 30s, have also seen the largest increase in numbers feeling negative about their finances, with 58% and 54% respectively now more likely to consider themselves financially insecure (up 8% since the start of the year).

Some 56% of those aged between 45 and 59 years of age are also pessimistic about their finances though this is 1% lower than at the start of the year.

Jatin Patel, Lloyds TSB current accounts director, said: "The fact that an increasing number of the population are worried about their finances is not surprising, as incomes have been squeezed for quite some time.

“The normal convention of the North South divide often sees those in London better off than the rest of the country.

“However, this latest research indicates that the opposite is the case. It seems that falling incomes and the increasing cost of living in an expensive city are taking their toll on those living in the capital."