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Brits shun savings after years of low interest rates

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08/08/2013
Years of low interest rates have had a serious impact on the nation's attitudes to saving, research has found.
Brits shun savings after years of low interest rates

The latest MoneyMood survey by Legal & General found only 56% of people were in the ‘mood to save’, down from 69% in January.

This is lower than the level recorded when the survey started back in 2005 (59%) and the level four years ago (58%) before the Bank of England (BoE) cut the base rate to the record low of 0.5%.

This week the BoE announced it would hold the base rate at 0.5% until unemployment fell to 7% from its current level of 7.8%, which is not expected to happen for at least three years.

The base rate has been 0.5% for 53 months to date.

The report found that inflation is also taking a toll on savers. It found that they are increasingly becoming aware that the combination of low interest rates and high inflation is reducing the value of their savings.

The research revealed that 7 out of 10 households expect the value of their savings to fall again over the next 12 months.

Of those who are squirrelling away for a rainy day, the lion’s share of savings are held in cash savings/deposit accounts paying no more than 1% interest.

The second most popular savings account is a cash ISA. This is despite the fact that cash ISA rates have fallen to 1.7% or less according to Moneyfacts.

Adrian Boulding, savings strategy director at Legal & General, said: “The really bad news is that there is currently no light at the end of the tunnel. The Bank of England has said it will not raise the base rate of interest before unemployment falls to 7%, which it currently expects it will not reach until 2016.”

“Savers are going to be made to subsidise consumers for another three years.”

“If money is earning little or no interest you should try and make it work harder to avoid erosion by inflation.”

Boulding said the most consistent hedge against inflation over the long term is stocks and shares, although that means savers must be prepared to take on some additional risk.

However, only 16% of households say they have a Stocks and Shares ISA with half that many (8%) saving in an Investment Bond.

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