Inflation climbed to 1.3 per cent last month putting millions of savers at risk of losing money in real terms on their nest egg.
That’s because inflation erodes the value of your cash and the only way to make it grow is to keep it in an account that pays more than inflation.
A standard deposit account paying 1.4 per cent just won’t do that. That’s because you pay tax on the interest, unless you’re a non-taxpayer.
In fact if you’re a basic rate taxpayer at 20 per cent you’ll need to find a savings account paying at least 1.63 per cent.
If you’re a higher rate taxpayer at 40 per cent the situation is even worse and you’ll need an account that pays at least 2.17 per cent to beat inflation.
Moneyfacts reckons that of the 619 non-Isa accounts on the market right now, just 137 negate the effects of tax and inflation for a basic-rate taxpayer.
Tax-free Isas offer a much better picture with 130 out of 209 offering rates that beat inflation, including those that pay higher-rate tax.
Sylvia Waycot, Editor at Moneyfacts, says: “Inflation may have risen after three consecutive months of falls, but it still makes little difference to savers suffering from poor returns.
“Today there are a total of 828 savings accounts on the market, but only 267 in total (135 fixed bonds, 130 ISAs and 2 notice accounts) pay enough interest to negate the effects of tax and inflation.”
A year ago there were just 45 accounts that beat inflation but that doesn’t mean savers are now in a better position. Far from it as inflation-beating accounts a year ago paid much higher interest.
“With the New Year fast approaching, savers are daring to hope because the much anticipated Pensioner Bonds launch in January, offering up to 4 percent interest.
"However, those looking to supplement their income will be disappointed as the Bonds won’t pay monthly interest,” points out Ms Waycot.
“What savers really want for Christmas is someone to shake up the market, so that providers start offering decent returns on their savings.”
Will there be good news ahead for savers with a future fall in inflation? Yes, predicts Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“Despite this month’s small rise, the outlook for inflation remains weak,” he says. “While the UK economy seems in good health, storm clouds are gathering on the horizon. "
The exceptionally weak economic performance of the euro zone – our largest trading partner – remains a severe threat, while data released this week showed that Shinzo Abe’s radical reforms have failed to prevent the Japanese economy slipping back into recession.
“Given these threats, and the absence of inflationary pressure, it is difficult to see why the Bank of England would consider raising interest rates at present. I expect them to remain on hold until late 2015 and perhaps beyond.”
So while inflation may fall, interest rates are set to remain at rock bottom, which is certainly not good news for savers.Reuse content