Feel-poor factor curtails spending

Most people were not feeling well-off in the run up to Christmas.

Independent's Christmas poll, conducted by Harris in the week before the holiday, found that nearly half the 1,000

people questioned said they were spending about the same as last year on food, drink and presents.

The young, those under 35, were spending more. But those over 35 were cutting back.

There were wide regional variations: an indication, perhaps, that recession continues to bite more deeply in some areas than others.

People were spending more in the North of England, Scotland and Wales. In London and the South-east, there was less of a willingness to splash out.

There were also significant differences between social groups. Skilled workers were willing to spend, as were single people and those without children.

The most miserly sector is the highest earning social group. Only a quarter of them said that they were willing to pay more this year on Christmas. Half said that they would be spending the same as last year.

But there may be more optimism for post-Christmas sales. Fifty per cent said they would be shopping in them - especially the younger age groups, women, and single people. However, 46 per cent said they were definitely not going. Regionally, there was little variation, except in Wales, where nearly 60 per cent said that they would be shopping over the holiday break.

East Anglian shoppers -and couples - were the most unlikely to be going to the sales.

Table omitted