Hopes of savers fall with the Autumn speech

The Chancellor's Statement has been criticised for its missed opportunities, says Julian Knight

Abit of a damp squib – that seems to have been the reaction to the Government's Autumn Statement from many savers and investors.

Much-trailed changes to the structure of individual savings accounts didn't happen. Strong rumours that peer-to-peer lending – which is growing in popularity and seen as a viable alternative to overly restrictive banks – would be incorporated into the ISA regime never saw the light of day.

And in a week when it was revealed that Britons are moving out of savings at the fastest rate since the 1970s, there was not even a hint of an equalisation of ISA limits so that the same amount of money can be saved in a cash account tax-free as it is in a stock market product.

Nationwide, a key player in the cash ISA market, was scathing in its criticism, with chief executive Graham Beale leading the charge: "This is a missed opportunity for the Chancellor to demonstrate support for savers by simplifying ISAs.

"The disparity between cash and equity ISA limits is a longstanding anomaly that not only feels unfair for those who prefer to put their savings into a cash ISA, but also leads to widespread confusion around how savers can maximise their tax-efficient ISA allowance."

On the flipside, insurer Skandia said it was relieved the Chancellor did not impose a £100,000 upper limit on ISA pots. "Had the Government decided to implement this cap," said Colin Jelley, head of wealth planning at Skandia, "careful investors who have seen strong growth in their portfolios would have been unfairly penalised and forced to stop investing," .

But there was widespread dismay that the Chancellor has continued to ignore calls for the merging of child trust funds and junior ISAs. At the moment, money invested in a CTF has to be kept separate from a JISA, causing an administrative headache for parents and deterring many from using the relatively new JISA schemes.

"I don't see why a child's date of birth should stop them getting the best deals for their financial future," said Darius McDermott, managing director at the broker Chelsea Financial Services. "It seems incredibly unfair and the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to finally sort the mess out.

"The Government asked for feedback, which they received back in August, and I don't really see why they couldn't make a decision in that time, especially when it's such a no-brainer. Junior ISAs offer more choice, lower costs and better cash rates ... Let's hope they see sense before the March Budget."

One crumb of comfort for savers and investors, though, was provided by the surprise decision to double the maximum amount of cash that workers can put away in "save as you earn" schemes each month.

From April, savers will be able to put away £500 a month in one of these schemes, which allow them to buy shares in their employer, often at a discounted rate.

The previous limit of £250 had been in place since the 1990s. "It is great news that the Government continues to make it attractive for employers to provide shares to employees, especially given the evidence that these companies often perform better," said Carol Dempsey, a partner at accountants PwC.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Guru Careers: Management Accountant

    £27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

    Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

    £40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'