Figures showing UK retail sales had their biggest quarterly fall in seven years in March have sparked a warning from Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, Dr Jonathan Wallace, that consumer spending is being hit by the fall in the value of the pound.
A fifth of the value was wiped off Sterling following the Brexit vote last year and this is now driving up prices in the shops. Inflation is now running at 2.3% while wages are rising 2.2%. Incomes are therefore starting to be squeezed.
Dr Wallace said, "Our economy has been sustained by consumer spending, based on substantial and unsustainable amounts of consumer debt. That now appears to be coming to an end.
"Consumers are being hit with a Brexit squeeze to living standards caused by rising prices and the falling pound.
"What the country needs is substantial investment to raise productivity, but this is being inhibited by all the uncertainty around a hard Brexit. This election is a chance to the change the direction of our country, prevent a hard Brexit and keep Britain in the single market."