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Low-income families have less than £100 put away, report finds

The savings gap between families on low and high incomes has widened over the past year, with lower-earning households typically relying on less than £100 in their rainy day fund, a report has found.

Low-income families earning £1,500 or less per month now typically have just £95 sitting in savings and investments, excluding money being saved into pensions, Aviva has found. A year ago, families in this income bracket had £136 on average.

Meanwhile, high-income families have been shoring up more cash, with a typical savings pot of £62,885 for households with an income of £5,001 a month or more.

A year ago, families in this higher income bracket had £50,208 put away typically.

The typical amount held in savings and investments across all UK families has fallen from £4,426 last summer to £3,134, the lowest level since summer 2015.

Only three regions have savings and investments, excluding pensions, worth more than £3,000 on average - London, Wales and the South East of England.

Families in London have by far the most put away, at more than £13,000 on average, which may reflect higher earnings and higher living costs there generally, meaning people are putting bigger amounts aside.

Families in the West Midlands were found to have the lowest typical savings, at £1,700 - the only UK region to have savings and investments worth less than £2,000.

More than two-fifths (43%) of families said significant increases in the price of basic necessities is one of the biggest threats to their standard of living in the next three months, up from 36% last summer.

Paul Brencher, Aviva UK's managing director, individual protection, said: "The gulf between low and high-income families is showing signs of widening, in a worrying indication that those less fortunate are finding their finances increasingly stretched.

"While high-income families have been able to increase their savings pots, those with low incomes have seen theirs fall to less than £100.

"With inflation climbing fast, families are understandably concerned about the impact of rising prices on the household purse.

"Poor returns on savings and rising inflation means families could well see their safety net eroded if they don't keep up regular contributions and try to boost savings pots whenever possible."

Research from financial information website Moneyfacts found last week that only one in 30 savings accounts on the market beats or matches the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation, which moved up to 1.8% in January.

Some 2,300 people aged between 18 and 55 years old who live as part of a family group were surveyed for Aviva's report.

Here are the average amounts that families have put away in savings and investments, excluding pensions, according to Aviva (figures for Northern Ireland were not given due to a small sample size):

:: London, £13,333

:: Wales, £4,167

:: South East, £3,196

:: East Anglia, £2,944

:: Yorkshire and Humberside, £2,912

:: South West, £2,763

:: Scotland, £2,595

:: East Midlands, £2,278

:: North West, £2,140

:: North East, £2,125

:: West Midlands, £1,700

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