Consumer spending has fallen significantly in the last number of years, as household disposable income has declined and the household savings rate has increased. The latest retail sales figures confirm that spending remains weak. Having said that, excluding the motor trade, there is tentative evidence that spending is stabilizing, albeit at low levels. For instance, core retail sales have been effectively flat in the first five months of the year. Finally, I would stress that weak personal spending is assumed in the budgetary estimates, as my Department is projecting a fall of 1.7 per cent in consumer spending this year.