Boost for savers, finally, as banks unveil super Isas

Trebled cash limit sparks wave of new offers
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There was an inevitable flurry of fresh Isa launches today, the first day that the so-called super Isas announced in March’s Budget were available.

The Government was keen to push the new allowances. The Chancellor, George Osborne, said: “The introduction of the new Isas is a big boost for millions of people, giving them greater economic security by putting aside money in savings.”

The near trebling of the cash Isa limit from £5,760 in 2013-14 to £15,000 in the 2014-15 tax year is significant, as is the greater flexibility giving savers the right to transfer their money back and forth between cash and equity Isas for the first time.

But fears that banks and building societies were caught out by Mr Osborne’s surprise announcement in March’s Budget, and were not ready to offer the new Isas, were quickly dispelled.

A spokesman for the British Bankers’ Association said: “We have been working hard to get ready for the new Isa regime and been holding weekly calls with our members, fund managers and other providers to prepare for these changes.

"Staff have received specific training and banks have put plans in place to make sure they are ready if there is a surge of customers wanting to move from stocks and shares products into cash – or vice versa.”

Indeed, there was a steady stream of new Isa launches trumpeted. First out of the blocks was Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks with a 2.45 per cent 40-month fixed-rate bond.

Halifax and Skipton quickly followed with increased rates on Isas, with other banks and building societies expected to announce their own fresh offers.

The improved deals have been long needed. Savers have been put off stashing money in the tax-free wrapper by record low savings rates. In fact, the average cash Isa interest rate is now just 1.58 per cent, according to Moneyfacts, when a year ago it was 1.74 per cent.

But savings institutions are now expecting massive demand on the introduction of the higher allowance, greater flexibility, and wave of new offers.

Figures released last week suggest more than £2bn has been held back from the current 2014-15 Isas until the new limits come into force.