Consumers are urged to keep the faith as flagging rates put the savings habit at risk

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The Independent Online

Almost three-quarters of UK consumers feel that the benefits of savings are slipping away as interest rates take a nosedive, research by the Association of British Insurers shows – up from around 50 per cent this time last year.

The findings have prompted calls for a new wave of saving incentives but other industry observers suggest savers should not be deterred from putting money aside for contingencies.

"Although you won't get the high rates we've been used to in the past, it is still worth saving for a rainy day," said Michelle Slade, an analyst at price-comparison site

"It's more important than ever to save in the current economic climate – because of the increased risk of losing your job, for example," she added. "There are still some good rates out there; you just have to look a bit harder."

Ms Slade recommends Yorkshire building society, which is offering 3.75 per cent interest on its instant access internet saver account. Meanwhile, ICICI bank has a 4.65 per cent rate on its one-year fixed-rate bond, and Anglo-Irish Bank and West Bromwich building society both offer 4.6 per cent on the same product.

For regular deposits, savers can still get 5.84 per cent on the Barclays regular saver account, for monthly deposits of between £20 and £250.

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