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Tory MP hails new consumer spending figures as proof of economic recovery

Visa Europe | Visa

3 min read Partner content

The Conservative party’s rising star Alan Mak has welcomed new consumer spending figures compiled by Visa Europe, which show growth across a broad range of sectors.

The Havant MP, who is also Chairman of the All Party Group for Entrepreneurship and Vice Chairman of the All Party Group for Financial Markets and Services, said the research is evidence that “Britain’s recovery is continuing.”

The statistics, drawn from Visa Europe’s UK Expenditure Index, reveal that consumer spending in September 2015 rose by 1.8% compared to the previous year.

The increase was driven by significant growth in a number of catagories, including recreation and culture, which received an annual boost of 7.8%, and hotels, restaurants and bars, which saw growth of 6.6% over the same time period.  

E-commerce retailers performed well, reporting a 5.8% surge in expenditure, which continues a strong two-year performance for the sector.

Responding to the findings, Mr Mak told PoliticsHome: “Today's strong consumer spending figures are good news for the economy, and show Britain's recovery is continuing.

“It's especially good to see increases in a broad range of spending categories from recreation and culture to clothing.

“This shows consumer confidence is rising and sustained. We need to continue backing our local high streets which are the backbone of our communities, as well as our ever-popular online businesses." 

The only sectors to record a fall in expenditure in September were Transport & Communication and Health & Education.

Giving his analysis, Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director UK & Ireland at Visa Europe said: “Consumers maximised the last of the summer and the camaraderie of the major sporting events in September, with spend at pubs and on entertainment roaring ahead.

“September was in fact the best month for the entertainment sector in terms of sales growth since last August.

“Clothing retailers were also winners in September. Poor weather in the second half of the month encouraged consumers to ready themselves for the beginning of autumn while also buying last minute school uniforms for the new term.

“Online retailers profited in particular as consumers capitalised on home deliveries.”

In contrast to the strong e-commerce figures, the high street experienced a fractional decrease in annual spending of -0.1%. 

However, Mr Jenkins suggested that the next few months could reverse this trend.

He said: “The high street will be looking for signs of an autumn fillip after a flat September.

“With Christmas only 74 days away, any further sign of consumer confidence will be a welcome boost.”

Supporting this view, Annabel Fiddes, Economist at Markit added: “Record low interest rates and stagnant price trends continue to boost spending power and consumer confidence, and are expected to support a further rise in expenditure as we head into the final quarter of 2015.”

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