Rural savers 'put more money aside'
Halifax, which analysed the savings balances held by its 11 million customers, found that those living in the countryside have £9,435 placed aside on average, which is 17% higher than the £8,060 nest egg their urban neighbours typically have.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Savers in rural Waveney in Suffolk and urban Christchurch in Dorset have the highest amounts stashed as a proportion of local earnings across England and Wales, at 53%.
The high cost of city living is taking its toll, with the lowest savings balances as a share of income concentrated in the London areas. Islington and Hackney topped the list of lowest balances as a proportion of earnings, both at 13%.
On a regional level, the highest rural savings balances were found in the South East, which at £10,046 on average were around 37% higher than the lowest urban balances, which were in Wales and averaged £7,351.
The biggest divides between rural and urban savings balances were found in the North West and West Midlands, where countryside savers have balances which are around one quarter higher than people living close by in urban areas in these regions.
People have struggled to put any spare cash aside amid high living costs such as rent and energy bills. Despite a recent easing in inflation, financial information website Moneyfacts reported this week that the number of accounts on the market offering real returns has plummeted from more than 150 a year ago to fewer than 10.
Experts have blamed recent Government efforts to help borrowers for making the situation worse for savers, who were already struggling in the low interest rate environment.
The Funding for Lending scheme, launched last August, gives lenders access to cheap finance and has made them less reliant on attracting savers' deposits.
But Richard Fearon, head of Halifax Savings, said that despite the tough environment is it still important for people to build up a "financial cushion" for emergencies.