With consumer confidence crashing to record lows in the UK in February 2011, it is fair to say that the UK is edging towards something of a tipping point.
That tipping point could be reached this Saturday, when the Trades Union Congress’s (TUC) March for the Alternative – a protest against the damage that the government’s “deep and rapid spending cuts” is doing to the UK – descends on central London.
Numbers for the march are not definite – most estimates say “several hundred thousand people” are expected – so if you’re not planning on joining the march, it might be a good idea to avoid central London tomorrow.
However, the wiser among you may wish to get involved, and if so you’ll need to get yourself to Victoria Embankment – between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges – by about 11:00.
The full route of the march will take it west along the Thames, past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, along Whitehall, past 10 Downing Street, along Piccadilly and in to Hyde Park, where Labour leader Ed Miliband will be speaking.
As for consumer confidence, that is measured by the Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index, which was started by the Nationwide Building Society in May 2004.
According to Nationwide, it “measures the population’s view of the current position and future prospects of the UK.”
It does so by asking people:
- what they think of the current economic situation
- what they think the economic situation will be like in six months’ time
- what they think of the current employment situation
- what they think the employment situation will be like in six months’ time
- their expectations for their household income in six months’ time
The drop to an all-time low at the end of last month was driven mostly by a crash in people’s expectations, with only 14% of people saying they thought the UK’s economic situation would be “good” in six months’ time (compare to 39% in February 2010), and 42% saying they thought it would be “bad” (compared to 15% in February 2010).
Meanwhile 63% of people said they thought there would be “not many/few jobs available” in six months’ time – treble the proportion that felt the same way when the Index began in May 2004.
Don’t cut culture
When capitalism lets us down we can always turn to culture to enrich our lives, and while London may have some of the world’s steepest ticket prices, it also has plenty of free museums and exhibitions.
So if you’re feeling the pinch as much as the rest of us, why not try one of the following free events in the capital.
Oh, and by the way, the March for the Alternative is free to attend as well.
Free events in London
Photography by Ian Berry documenting the changing face of Whitechapel in the 1970s as the established Jewish community moved away and a south Asian population took their place.
Cory Angel’s latest art installation, featureing 14 bowling video games from the 1970s to the 2000s.
Churchgoers and non-churchgoers discuss issues such as fair trade, the environment, stress, adoption, parenting, debt and divorce over coffee. Fourth Wednesday of the month.
Still life drawings by the author of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”.