Average consumer has '£113 less per year to spend on non-essentials.'

Lloyds TSB's Spending Power Report has found that consumers are feeling the biggest squeeze in spending power in over a year.

The research attributes this to a number of factors. For example, growth in incomes has slowed to 2.4% in March compared to 3.0% in February. This is its weakest rate in over a year, and is under the rate of inflation.

On top of this, essential spending has risen by 6.2% in the year leading up to March. Nearly three quarters of consumers (73%) have said that they've noticed a rise in the cost of essentials and everyday spending.

Many people have reported seeing an increase in how much they spend on gas/electricity (67% of people have noticed an increase), water (45% have noticed) and household groceries (57% have noticed). Increasing fuel prices were also a concern among consumers, with 70% saying it was a worry. This is up 4% from October 2011.

Interestingly, consumer spending on debt repayments has grown by 1.3% in the year leading up to March.

An expert from Gregory Pennington has commented: "On average, consumers have £113 less to spend per year on non-essentials. This makes it more difficult to save up for unexpected costs such as car repairs, meaning that these kinds of costs could push some people into debt.

"It is reassuring, however, that Lloyd's TSB's Spending Power Report has shown that debt repayments have grown by 1.3%. This shows that people are giving priority to clearing their debts, which could free up money for savings and non-essential spending. If you are worried about your debts you should seek expert advice."

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