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Consumer confidence raced ahead during May as the warmer weather and recent run of bank holiday weekends left Britons feeling more upbeat, research indicated today.

The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index registered one of its biggest monthly rises to stand 11 points ahead of its April figure at 55 - the highest level since December last year. The index was boosted by people feeling more positive about the prospects of the economy, while their confidence in spending money also increased.