Consumer confidence fell in August back to its level in April and only matched during the turbulent periods of 2008/09 and in early 1990.

Gfk NOP’s Consumer Confidence Index fell by one point to -31, a 13 point decline year-on-year.

Nick Moon, managing director of Gfk NOP Social Research said the data painted a mixed picture.

He said: “With an increasing number of indicators suggesting the economy is either stagnating or returning to recession, the continuing loss of consumer confidence is a major worry.

“However, while there has been a drop in consumers’ general view of the economic situation over the next 12 months, there has been a small improvement in how they view their own financial situations, indicating people are starting to adapt to the austere economic climate.”