The amorous intentions of the British are intimately connected to the performance of the stockmarket, extra-marital dating website illicitencounters.co.uk says.

It notes that although the website has been running since 2004, by far the biggest jump in membership has been in the past 12 months, when it leapt to 310,000 from 180,000 in the previous fiscal year.

“We’re not financial analysts here, but we have noticed a sharp increase in the number of new profiles posted – each time the FTSE moves dramatically, up or down,” says Sarah Hartley, spokesperson for the site.

The site previously reported a surge in membership in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers last September, “suggesting the credit crunch had made way for the ‘lingering lunch’”.