Consumer confidence has fallen nine points since last October, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium and Nielsen.

The consumer confidence survey for Britain – which is published every six months – fell from 74 points in October to 65, which is the lowest figure since the survey began in 2004. The index stood at 79 this time last year and peaked at 101 in spring 2006.

The most recent figures were compiled from an online poll of consumers between March 19 and April 2.

The BRC said the decline in confidence is directly related to uncertainty around jobs, with 86 per cent of the 26,219 people polled saying they felt “negatively” about their job prospects over the next 12 months.

Nearly half (49 per cent) said they felt their personal finances will be “not so good” in the coming months, with 23 per cent saying they thought now was a “bad time” to spend.

Only 13 per cent of people think the recession will end in the next 12 months.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “This survey suggests the economy’s climb back to growth will be harder and slower than the Government claims. Clearly most people don’t share the Chancellor’s optimism.

“The decline in worries about food, utility and fuel prices would be unambiguously good news – if it hadn’t been replaced by concerns about jobs.”