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Confidence at seven-year high

CONSUMER confidence has hit a seven-year high.

But at a household level families are still feeling under financial pressure and are not seeing any improvement in their budgets. It comes as experts state Finance Minister Michael Nooan (inset) could get away with imposing €500m of tax hikes and spending cuts in October's Budget, not the originally planned €2bn.

Strong economic growth figures and hopes of a less severe Budget this autumn have driven the consumer confidence index to a level last seen in 2007, before the economy crashed.

The index is now at 89.4, up from 81.1 in June, according to latest KBC Bank/Economic and Social Research Institute research.

The bounce in consumer confidence has reversed large losses in May.