Consumer confidence fell in February as fears about inflation-busting council tax hikes and stagnant household income bite.

Shopper sentiment fell one point to -10 in February as continued pessimism drags on, according to the GfK Consumer Confidence Index.

The index has not climbed above zero since February 2016, and at its lowest point dipped to -13 in December 2017.

Joe Staton, head of experience innovation at GfK, said: “Ongoing concerns about sluggish household income, rising prices paid by consumers in the shops, and the prospect of inflation-busting council tax and interest rate hikes have dented confidence after last month’s surprising rally.

“The two-year trend of negative sentiment proves consumers feel pessimistic about the state of household finances and the wider UK economy.”

Shoppers reined in their spending this month, as evidenced by the measure of big-ticket purchases falling one point to 0.

Consumers’ concerns over the general economic situation over the next 12 months continued to plunge in February. It dropped another two points to -26.

Respondents also believe their own personal financial situation will worsen over the next 12 months, with this measure dropping one point.

Staton added: “Despite positive news about upgraded growth forecasts, and the promise of higher wage increases this year, confidence will remain subdued until we feel the positive impact on our purses.

“Consumers have good reason to feel jittery and depressed.”