Hotels and restaurants and other leisure outlets are downbeat about prospects for Christmas and the New Year after a slump in business during the three months to November. More than two fifths of the UK service industry said that business volumes had fallen and only 23% reported a rise, according to the CBI’s latest quarterly survey. The resulting balance of -18 was down from -5 in the three months to August and much lower than the reading of +8 expected by these firms three months ago. The estimate gauge of activity for the next three months dropped to -20, the lowest reading in more than a year. Ian McCafferty, chief economic adviser at the CBI, said: “The recovery of the service sector is proving bumpy in the face of sluggish demand. Consumers are cutting back on leisure activities and other discretionary spending, which led to a surprise fall in business volumes and flat profits this quarter.”