UK experiences savings apathy

Saga has commissioned a survey which found that 17 per cent of people do not have a savings account at all, while the majority of those that do were ignorant of savings rates.

The indifferent attitude to savings was more prevalent in the under-50 age group, 57 per cent of whom checked their savings account once a year or less, compared to 42 per cent of over-50s.

Chief Executive of Saga, Andrew Goodsell, said: “People are not regularly checking interest rates, meaning that they could be missing out on the most competitive rates.

“Switching accounts is an increasingly easy process, and we would urge all savers to check their savings rate to make sure they are making the best of their money.”

The average saver has kept their account with the same provider for 14 years.

While the Saga report advises people to be more aware of the benefits of effective saving, some in government see the trend as evidence of people’s confidence in the economy.

Speaking to BBC One’s Panorama programme, Ed Balls, Labour MP and former chief economic adviser to the Treasury, said: “Part of the reason people haven’t been saving at very high levels is because they are confident that there isn’t going to be a big bout of inflation.

“The thing we need to avoid is the kind of jarring swings from a very low savings ratio to a very high one because people feared the economy was about to go into recession.”

He was commenting on findings by the Office of National Statistics that in 1997, when Labour came to power, the average household saved 9.2 per cent of their income. In 2004, the figure was down to 4.2 per cent.

© Adfero Ltd

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