Consumer confidence improved again in October, when sentiment reached its highest level since January 2008.

GfK NOP’s Consumer Confidence Index, compiled on behalf of the European Commission, rose to -13, a three point increase month on month.

Confidence in the “general economy over the next 12 months” slipped one point to +3, but it was still only the second time since 1999 that the measure was in positive territory. Sentiment about making big-ticket purchases rose three points to -12, the highest level since November 2007.

Although overall sentiment remained negative GfK NOP consumer confidence team member Rachael Joy said: “We have now not seen a drop in the monthly confidence rating throughout 2009 indicating a steady, if cautious uplift in confidence in our economic situation.”

She said that the survey’s findings overall indicated “a possible adjustment in attitude to the new ‘age of austerity’, where people are becoming more comfortable with living with restricted spending.”

Capital Economics chief European economist Jonathan Loynes said the findings may be good news for the Government. He observed: “If confidence does carry on rising over the coming months the election result may be rather less of a foregone conclusion than many people are currently assuming.”