A homely New Year's Eve for crunch Britons

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The Independent Online

The recession is forcing most people to stay at home on New Year's Eve after a year of cutting back on spending, new research revealed today.

A survey of 2,000 adults by the Post Office showed more than two thirds were planning a night in tomorrow, with most blaming a lack of money for not going out.

Some of those questioned said they would prefer to be at home with their family, with only 7 per cent definitely going to a pub or club to see in the New Year.

Richard Pennant-Jones, head of general insurance at the Post Office, said: "With most clubs and bars charging over the odds for drinks and door entrance on New Year's Eve, it is not surprising that so many of us prefer to stay in.

"Not only does this make for a cheaper night, but you also avoid the stress of finding a taxi home."

Meanwhile, revellers were urged to wrap up for a freezing New Year as the cold snap continued today with parts of the country blanketed in snow.

Wales was the worst hit area with up to 10cm expected on high ground with drifts on top of that.

There was also snow on the Pennines and several centimetres settling in the Midlands with further snow showers expected in eastern Scotland and north-east England.

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings of widespread icy roads across much of Scotland, north-east England, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Wales.

Yesterday, most roads in Wales managed to stay open, with gritters working around the clock.

It was reported that sales of salt had soared by up to 400 per cent in supermarkets as customers stocked up to clear slippery paths and roads.

Poor conditions on the roads and disruption to rail services meant a miserable post-Christmas return to work yesterday with heavy snow in places and persistent rain elsewhere.

And there was little in the way of festive cheer from forecasters who predicted temperatures, which had edged higher in southern England, would plunge everywhere as the week wore on.

Rachel Vince, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said revellers celebrating the turn of the year should be prepared for freezing conditions and snow showers in places.

"When people are out seeing in the new year it will be sub-zero across the UK," she said.

As Big Ben chimes midnight to signal the start of the new year, those celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh can expect temperatures of minus 2C, while revellers in Glasgow will have to contend with a bracing minus 3 and party-goers in the Highlands a finger-numbing minus 6C.

Elsewhere at new year, temperatures of minus 2C are predicted for Manchester and Newcastle, minus 1C for Birmingham and Cardiff and zero in London.

New Year's Day will be chilly, with temperatures in the northern half of the country unlikely to get above freezing.

Ms Vince said: "A lot of the country will have a freezing start to the new year. We are expecting snow showers for northern and eastern Scotland and north-east England.

"It will be largely clear and dry for the rest of the UK which will be good for watching fireworks."

"On New Year's Day temperatures will be unlikely to rise above zero from Birmingham northwards."