Consumer confidence may hit flexible benefits choices

Falling consumer confidence could hit flexible benefits choices, with access to ready cash now a more pressing concern for employees than tax-efficient benefits.
Consumer confidence research released today by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), shows that †UK consumers now rank debt repayment (20%) as the top spending priority in 2008, with holidays (16%) a close second.
Matthew Hunnybun, HR services partner at PwC, said : “Falling consumer confidence clearly impacts how individuals spend their money, and this applies as much to the choices they make with their flexible benefits choices to the decisions they make on the high street.
“Companies can expect their employee to pay more attention to how they allocate the allowance they are given for their benefits – people may opt increasingly for cash payments where available, rather than selecting the most tax-efficient option.
“The exception to this could be holiday allowances as, while employers might expect staff to buy less annual leave and possibly sell a couple of days back to secure extra cash, this research shows individuals’ appetite for an annual holiday remains.”