Savings levels rise as consumer confidence grows  Go compare with our comparison table

Savings levels rise as consumer confidence grows

11 March 2010 / by Andy Davies

The number of regular and occasional savers has reached its highest level for nearly two years with four out of five Brits now putting their money into savings, Nationwide has revealed.

According to its monthly Savings Index, 80 per cent of consumers now describe themselves as either regular or occasional savers – the highest number since May 2008, with Nationwide suggesting that a growing level of confidence coupled with ISA season has led to an improvement on people's ability to save.

Its main Savings Index – which measures the frequency and attitudes towards saving – increased by six points in February to 91 points as it recovers from its pre-Christmas fall.

Commenting, Andy Hutchinson, head of savings at Nationwide, expects to see more people open or top up their ISAs before the tax year ends on 5 April.

"There are very few opportunities in life to ‘beat the tax man' and one of those opportunities is to take out an ISA, so I encourage eligible savers to use their ISA allowance as soon as possible.

"We estimate that cash ISAs alone are saving consumers over £680 million in tax over a year, so ISAs can clearly make a substantial saving," he said.

Encouragingly, Nationwide has revealed that 19 per cent consumers – an increase of three per cent since January – now believe it is a good time to save given the current economic situation, as its Savings Environment Index rose by seven points to 83 points.

In addition, February also saw a five point increase in the Future Saving Index, taking its total to 127 points as a growing number of consumers have plans to save more in six months time.

Meanwhile, despite nearly half of all consumers still thinking it is a bad time to save given the current economic climate, Mr Hutchinson remains upbeat about consumer attitudes towards saving.

"Recent reports suggest that economic growth was greater in the last quarter than initially estimated, so hopefully this will create a positive impact for the general savings environment in the near future," he added.

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