European Central Bank
Britons suffered the biggest deterioration in their finances in seven months in December and turned more downbeat about 2013, a survey showed on Monday.
The Markit Household Finance Index fell to 36.8 - the lowest since May - from November's near two-year high of 39.3, sinking further below the 50 level that would mark no change in the financial situation compared with a month ago.
Around a third of respondents said their finances had worsened in December, while only 6 percent reported an improvement. Overall, households also felt less secure in their jobs than in November.
"The latest survey suggests that domestic consumer demand will remain under pressure in the near term, especially since inflation perceptions remain elevated and job insecurities are prevalent across the UK," said Markit economist Tim Moore, reports Reuters.
Three quarters of respondents expected their finances to worsen or to show no improvement next year.
In a further worrying sign for policymakers, inflation expectations for the year ahead picked up slightly from the three-month low posted in November.
The survey of around 1,500 people was conducted between December 13 and December 17.