Money: Savings rates are beginning to fall

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Savings rates are coming down as a result of the latest round of mortgage cuts.

Nationwide is reducing most rates by half a percentage point from today. Only InvestDirect, the postal account; the bottom tier of FlexAccount, the current account, which pays 0.5 per cent gross; and overseas accounts escape the cut.

Leeds Permanent cut its rates yesterday by between 0.25 and 0.4 percentage points.

Skipton Building Society is launching a new account called High Street that challenges the rates offered by postal accounts. It pays a flat rate of interest of 6.75 per cent (5.06 per cent net). The minimum investment is pounds 2,000, and the maximum balance is pounds 10,000. All transactions have to be made by cheque, and the minimum withdrawal is pounds 500.

The Northern Rock postal account is likely to be closed to new investors shortly. The minimum investment is pounds 2,000 on which the interest is 6.6 per cent gross.

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