Advantage: Living standard squeeze spells trouble for agents – Andrew Neil

The most severe squeeze on living standards since the 1920s will make life difficult for travel firms for the next couple of years, journalist and presenter Andrew Neil told the Advantage conference.

Neil said customers would be hit by national insurance hikes, rising prices and falling house prices.

“The severe squeeze of living standards will affect all of our businesses. House prices outside the London bubble will continue falling so people won’t feel so wealthy, so they will feel less inclined to spend.

“You’re going to have to fight hard for every £1 of revenue. Consumers will want to get the best value for money. They will be less cavalier about what they spend because they’ve got less to spend.”

Poor consumer confidence is the biggest threat to economic growth, he said, since consumer spending accounts for 70% of the economy.

“I don’t believe there will be a double dip, but the recovery will be lacklustre,” he added.

Neil said young people from the UK would find it most difficult to get a job. “Employers are hiring people over 50 and foreign born because they have the right attitude and experience. The unemployment rate among under 25s is 20% and rising.”

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