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UK consumers react to the budget.

So much for ‘Dave’s Big Society’ as the gap between the rich and poor widens – 8% say that the recession is building a community spirit and a “we’re all in it together attitude” –

52% of consumers agree that division in society between the haves and have-nots is getting wider –

Only 9% feel they will be better off

and 38% are worried about their finances –

58% say that they are negatively affected by the decision not to reduce petrol prices –

54% feel negatively affected by road tax increase –

31% cutting back on charitable donations

UK consumers are feeling more worried about their finances as a result of Wednesday’s budget, with cutting back on charity giving, eating out and turning to the Black Market among the measures they are considering to help ease their financial situation. Restaurants and food outlets will be hit hard, as the most popular cutback is on buying takeaways (41%) followed by eating out (34%). Charities will also lose out as 31% plan to cut back on charitable donations.

However, there is still some optimism in the air as playing the lottery remains a part of life that almost two thirds of UK consumers (59%) are unwilling to give up, while 3% said they will increase their spend on lottery tickets. When thinking about their financial situation and about how they manage their money between pay or pension days, UK consumers appear to be quite a sensible bunch with more than two thirds (69%) saying that they would never be tempted to use high interest payday loans. However, 8% say they are already using these.

More than half (52%) agree that the cuts as outlined in Wednesday’s Budget are creating great divisions in society between the haves and have-nots, with only 8% saying that a silver lining of the recession is that it is building community spirit with a “we’re all in it together” attitude. However, this sentiment increases among lower income earners with 63% thinking it’s causing a divide compared to 47% of middle income earners. When asked to think about their financial situation and whether the Budget will make it harder to stretch their money further, we asked consumers if they would be tempted to buy certain products on the black market, buy fake brands, or go over their duty limit on things like alcohol or cigarettes when travelling back from abroad.

Among smokers, however, there is a greater tendency to search out the black market or stretch the duty limits in order to get alcahol and cigerettes. (49%) also said they planned to cut back on holidays.

“These figures provide interesting insight into the way the general population is feeling as a result of the Budget,” said Marco Scognamiglio, CEO of RAPP UK. “While reports have suggested that some people will be better off, there are large numbers of people who will be worse off or who at least feel they will be worse off. “It is critical to listen to consumer conversations and sentiment following the budget and to respond in relevant ways as the power and influence they can have on brands and society is not to be underestimated.”

 [RAPP Proprietary Research using Toluna. Sample: 500 UK consumers.]