Savings 'raided to top up spending'

purseWomen are more likely to have raided their savings over the last three months to top up their summer spending budget than men, a study has found.

Almost two-fifths of women (37%) said they had plundered their accounts, compared with less than one in three (32%) men, according to research by Halifax.

Holidays topped the list of specific goals that people were saving towards, followed by adding to their retirement fund or saving for a deposit to buy a house.

However, extra holiday costs were also blamed as the most common reason why people had to unexpectedly dip into their funds.

In every region across Britain apart from London, savers have taken out more cash than they put in over the last three months, the study found.

More than three quarters (77%) of people said they had managed to add something to their nest eggs since April, placing £829 into their accounts on average.

However, 35% had also taken money out over the same period, with £1,824 withdrawn on average.

Savings rates have plummeted in the low interest rate environment and experts have said the situation has been made worse by a Government scheme called Funding for Lending, which is aimed at helping borrowers by giving lenders access to cheap finance. This has made banks less reliant on having to attract savers' deposits.

The findings also come at a time when the squeeze on households from inflation has surged to a 14-month high and wages are still stagnant.

Richard Fearon, head of Halifax Savings, said: "Whilst it's great to have some money put aside for a rainy day, saving for something specific makes it harder to justify dipping into your savings because you can see the impact on the things the money could be used for."

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