What to do now the housing market has crashed, the banks have shut up shop and all the low-cost airlines we'd have used to make a quick getaway and forget our economic woes have gone to the wall?

As Paul Weller might have sung, "It's written in the stars up above". According to statistics from ITV Local, more and more web users are consulting their horoscopes and looking for guidance now that the credit crunch is in full swing.

ITV Local says "the number of people turning to the stars to find out what they have in store has rocketed amidst gloomy economic conditions".

It reports an increase in traffic of 38 percent to its horoscopes pages at itvlocal.com/horoscopes and 58 percent more traffic for Russell Grant's premonitions.

According to ITV, ever since April, more and more people have been seeking the reassuring face and wisdom of astrologer Grant. Unfortunately, what's written in the stars for the immediate future isn't exactly reassuring.

Traffic to Russell Grant's horoscopes increase

Grant, who apparently foretold the economic downturn back in September 2007, says "People want to know that all will be all right in the end but there is no point in me saying what people want to hear, which is that it will be over by Christmas. I have to be realistic as it's my reputation on the line.

"The biggest hope I can give is that things may lighten up by next June but it will be Easter or summer 2010 before we really feel optimistic."

ITV Local's Director of Content, Lindsay Charlton, commented: "We first noticed that Russell's figures really started to go up in April. Since then, we've seen a sharp increase in demand. In an age of confusion, people look to more ancient explanations it seems."

Actually, it's just that we've all wised up to the premium rate phone in scams and started entering competitions and polls online.