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31% 'using savings for holidays'

More people are dipping into their savings to splash out on a holiday, and fewer are doing so to pay down debt as confidence in the economy improves, research has found.

The appetite to save money generally is increasing, with more than two-thirds (67%) of people now saying they save regularly or when ever they can, marking a 2% increase over the last 12 months, according to Lloyds Bank's savings index.

Instant access accounts were found to be the most popular type of savings product, with 52% of over 3,500 people surveyed saying they have this type of account. This was closely followed by cash Isas, with 51% of people saying they had one.

But fewer people who dip into their savings are doing so to pay down debts. The number of people accessing their savings to avoid going overdrawn has dropped by 3% over the last year to 17%.

Meanwhile, the proportion of people paying for a holiday through their savings has risen to 31%, from 26% a year ago. A holiday is now the most popular reason for people to withdraw money from their savings, whereas a year ago the most likely reason was to cover an unexpected bill.

But in signs that many households are still struggling with tight budgets, nearly one in three (30%) people still said they are unable to save anything.

Savers living in the North West are most likely to be dipping into their pots to fund getaways, the research found, with 41% of people there saying they use their savings to pay for holidays. Those in the South West are the most likely to use their savings to pay off an overdraft at 28%.

People living in Yorkshire and Humberside were the most likely to have an instant savings account, with 59% of people surveyed who live there saying they have one.

Meanwhile, Londoners are the most likely to be saving money, with three-quarters (75%) of people living in the capital saying they were doing so.

Andy Bickers, savings director at Lloyds Bank, said: "It is encouraging to see a more positive outlook and shift towards savings in the last year, even if the trend is gradual in some areas.

"However, with one in three saying that they're still not saving anything, there is still some way to go.

"Even if people just put away a small amount each month this can be increased as circumstances improve."

Recent figures from financial website Moneyfacts showed that people are still struggling to find savings accounts to give them real returns.

Moneyfacts found last month that only around one in five savings accounts on the market pays enough interest to beat inflation.


From Belfast Telegraph