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Poor returns for savers means they 'lose £18bn a year'

Published 21 June 2012 by

Poor returns from 'nest eggs' with banks means that savers are losing out on £18 billion each year - compared with what they'd normally expect.

This is because of the Bank of England's all-time-low base rate of 0.5%, which Chancellor George Osborne 'identified … as the cornerstone of Government economic policy' according to the Daily Mail. The government sees the Bank's record-low base rate as 'evidence of its success in helping businesses and families keep down the cost of borrowing' - but it's having a serious impact on the incomes of millions of savers.

Savers are suffering from poor returns on their current accounts, savings accounts and ISAs, with most paying less than the current CPI inflation rate of 2.8%. And though building societies and banks have cut their savings rates, they have imposed higher interest rates on borrowers.

Since 2008, the average savings rate has fallen from 6.52% to 2.78% - but the average overdraft rate is up to 19.5% from 18%. On credit cards, interest is up from 15.73% to 17.32%.

In the past, savers have relied on tax-free returns from ISAs in order to protect their finances, but even these are offering a return of 2.6% on average.

Mark Giddens, from accountants UHY Hacker and Young, explained to the Daily Mail that savers are unlikely to see high returns in the near future because of the central banks' efforts to keep interest rates low. Plus, there are fewer institutions competing for high-street savers because of the 2008 banking sector crisis.

The director-general of Saga, Ros Altmann said that "Most of those with savings or pensions have seen their income decimated by policies that have tried to help borrowers and banks, at the expense of those who tried to put money aside for their future."

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