Younger Savers Failing to Maximise Tax Free Allowance
Just 15% of 2012/13 ISA customers have used full allowance

HALIFAX, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 03/28/13 -- The average cash ISA balance across England and Wales is GBP 8,844, according to Halifax; equivalent to a third (33%) of national average pre-tax annual earnings(1) of GBP 27,039.

There are significant differences in average ISA balances depending on age, location and gender. Savers aged 25 to 34 have an average balance of GBP 2,712, which is less than half of the current annual Cash ISA allowance of GBP 5,640. The average balance increases to GBP 4,389 for those aged between 35 and 44 and again to GBP 7,330 for customers between 45 and 54 years of age; all well below the national average.

Unsurprisingly, older savers have higher balances. Those in the 55 to 64 age band have an average balance of GBP 11,809, which is a third above the national average; rising to GBP 15,035 for savers over the age of 75 (See Table 1).

Indeed, industry(2) figures show that the proportion of savers with ISAs valued at GBP 15,000 or more is highest among the 65 plus age group.

Richard Fearon, Head of Halifax Savings, comments:

"Our research shows that age is a significant factor in determining the size of an ISA holding. Older savers, not surprisingly, have the highest ISA balances as they have had longer to accumulate savings whereas savers between 25 and 54 have an ISA balance considerably lower than the national average.

"Savers aged between 25 and 54 make up over 70% of all taxpayers and, therefore have the greatest chance to benefit from using their full ISA allowance. Just 15% of savers that have funded their ISA with us this year have reached the maximum limit, so the potential for further tax free saving over the next month is huge."

ISA balances vary sharply between areas

Regionally, the highest average balance is held by savers in East Anglia (GBP 9,512) and the lowest is in the North East (GBP 8,220); a difference of 16%. (See Table 2).

Whilst the average ISA balance of GBP 8,844 is equivalent to a third of gross annual earnings, this proportion is highest in Wales (39%) and lowest in London (24%). At a local area district (LAD) level, the differences are much greater. ISA customers in South Buckinghamshire have the highest average balance, which at GBP 11,532 is 124% higher than in Hackney - which has the lowest (GBP 5,137).

South Buckinghamshire is followed by Derbyshire Dales (GBP 11,461), Chiltern (GBP 11,454) and Christchurch (GBP 11,317). These are all areas characterised by an aging population. (See Table 3).

Sixteen of the 20 LADs with the highest average balances are in southern England; the four from the north are Fylde in Lancashire (GBP 11,078), Staffordshire Moorlands in the West Midlands (GBP 10,898) and Hambleton in North Yorkshire (GBP 10,891), as well as Derbyshire Dales.

At the other end of the range, seven of the ten lowest ISA savings areas are in London. Besides Hackney, the other areas with the lowest balances are Newham (GBP 6,043), Southwark (GBP 5,643) and Lewisham (GBP 5,909). These are all areas with a younger than average population. (See Table 4).

Women save a greater percentage of earnings tax free

As a proportion of average earnings, female savers have an average ISA balance that is equivalent to 43% of their gross annual average earnings - 17 percentage points more than male ISA savers (26%).

In Yorkshire and the Humber, South West, East Midlands and Wales the average ISA balance for women is equivalent to almost half of female average gross annual earnings.

Savings by men are highest in proportion to earnings in Wales (33%). The lowest levels of savings relative to earnings are in London for both men (19%) and women (31%).

Men have an average ISA balance of GBP 8,973, just 2% higher than those held by women (GBP 8,816). Men have higher balances across all regions of England and Wales with the exception of London. The gender differences, however, are small with the largest in the North East, at 4% (GBP 8,455 v GBP 8,057). (See Table 2).

Table 1: Average Balance by Age (over 25's) - January 2013


============================================================================
             25-34   35-44   45-54    55-64    65-74      75+ All age groups
============================================================================
England        GBP     GBP     GBP      GBP      GBP      GBP
 and Wales   2,712   4,389   7,330   11,809   13,900   15,035      GBP 8,844
============================================================================
Source: Halifax; (i) all outstanding balances at end of January 2013

Table 2: Average ISA Balance by Region, January 2013


============================================================================
                               All Customers  Female Average    Male Average
                             Average Balance  Balance (GBP)    Balance (GBP)
Region                             (GBP) (i)             (i)             (i)
============================================================================
North East                         GBP 8,220       GBP 8,057       GBP 8,455
============================================================================
North West                         GBP 8,770       GBP 8,680       GBP 8,932
============================================================================
Yorkshire & Humberside             GBP 8,737       GBP 8,646       GBP 8,886
============================================================================
West Midlands                      GBP 8,858       GBP 8,706       GBP 9,098
============================================================================
East Midlands                      GBP 9,291       GBP 9,223       GBP 9,464
============================================================================
East Anglia                        GBP 9,512       GBP 9,475       GBP 9,670
============================================================================
London                             GBP 8,643       GBP 8,889       GBP 8,622
============================================================================
South East                         GBP 9,313       GBP 9,336       GBP 9,389
============================================================================
South West                         GBP 8,653       GBP 8,615       GBP 8,767
============================================================================
Wales                              GBP 8,819       GBP 8,728       GBP 8,989
============================================================================
England and Wales                  GBP 8,844       GBP 8,816       GBP 8,973
============================================================================
Source: Halifax; (i) all outstanding balances at end of January 2013

Table 3: 20 Local Authority Districts with the Largest ISA Balances


============================================================================
Local Authority District                               All Customers Average
                                            Region         Balance (GBP) (i)
============================================================================
South Buckinghamshire                   South East                GBP 11,532
============================================================================
Derbyshire Dales                     East Midlands                GBP 11,461
============================================================================
Chiltern                                South East                GBP 11,454
============================================================================
Christchurch                            South West                GBP 11,317
============================================================================
Harrow                                      London                GBP 11,283
============================================================================
Brentwood                              East Anglia                GBP 11,244
============================================================================
East Dorset                             South West                GBP 11,080
============================================================================
Fylde                                   North West                GBP 11,078
============================================================================
Mole Valley                             South East                GBP 11,001
============================================================================
Vale of White Horse                     South East                GBP 10,947
============================================================================
St Albans                              East Anglia                GBP 10,942
============================================================================
Epsom and Ewell                         South East                GBP 10,911
============================================================================
Staffordshire Moorlands              West Midlands                GBP 10,898
============================================================================
Hambleton                 Yorkshire and the Humber                GBP 10,891
============================================================================
Windsor and Maidenhead                  South East                GBP 10,862
============================================================================
Wokingham                               South East                GBP 10,815
============================================================================
Rochford                               East Anglia                GBP 10,804
============================================================================
Harborough                           East Midlands                GBP 10,699
============================================================================
Epping Forest                          East Anglia                GBP 10,687
============================================================================
Elmbridge                               South East                GBP 10,652
============================================================================
England and Wales                                                  GBP 8,844
============================================================================
Source: Halifax; (i) all outstanding balances at the end of January 2013

Table 4: Local Authority Districts with the Lowest Average ISA Balances, January 2013


============================================================================
Local Authority                                All Customers Average Balance
 District                              Region                      (GBP) (i)
============================================================================
Hackney                                London                      GBP 5,137
============================================================================
Newham                                 London                      GBP 5,438
============================================================================
Southwark                              London                      GBP 5,643
============================================================================
Lewisham                               London                      GBP 5,909
============================================================================
Barking and Dagenham                   London                      GBP 6,043
============================================================================
Manchester                         North West                      GBP 6,152
============================================================================
Lambeth                                London                      GBP 6,196
============================================================================
Tower Hamlets                          London                      GBP 6,556
============================================================================
Corby                           East Midlands                      GBP 6,577
============================================================================
Kingston upon Hull   Yorkshire and the Humber                      GBP 6,624
============================================================================
England and Wales                                                  GBP 8,844
============================================================================
Source: Halifax; (i) month end all outstanding balances for January 2013

Editors' Notes:

Note:


(1) average annual gross earnings for all employees (ONS) for England and
Wales 2012.
(2) HMRC Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) Statistics September 2012. These
statistics include both ISA cash and ISA stocks and shares - however 80% of
ISA accounts subscribed by adults in 2011/12 were for cash ISAs. The Halifax
figures in this release are for Cash ISAs only.
(3) All average balance data in this release are per customer.

Methodology

Data in this release is from the Halifax savings database for all outstanding stock of savings balances held by customers for all product types at the end of January 2013.

National averages in this release are for England and Wales only and are in not comparable to those stated in previous releases which included data for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

No adjustment is made to the calculation for area average balance where the gender is not known. Therefore, the overall savings balance may differ from the averages implied by the male and female averages.

The figures in this report, by their very nature, exclude people who have no savings. Figures from the ONS's Financial Resources Survey 2010/11 show that 40% of households have no savings (Table 4.9 - Households by amount of savings and investments).

"This report is prepared from information that we believe is collated with care, however, it is only intended to highlight issues and it is not intended to be comprehensive. We reserve the right to vary our methodology and to edit or discontinue/withdraw this, or any other report. Any use of this report for an individual's own or third party commercial purposes is done entirely at the risk of the person making such use and solely the responsibility of the person or persons making such reliance." © Bank of Scotland plc all rights reserved

Lloyds TSB Bank plc. Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales, number 2065. Telephone: 020 7626 1500.

Bank of Scotland plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland, number 327000. Telephone: 020 7626 1500.

Lloyds TSB Scotland plc. Registered Office: Henry Duncan House, 120 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4LH. Registered in Scotland, number 95237. Telephone: 0131 225 4555.

Cheltenham & Gloucester plc. Registered Office: Barnett Way, Gloucester GL4 3RL. Registered in England and Wales, number 2299428. Telephone: 01452 372372.

Lloyds TSB Bank plc, Lloyds TSB Scotland plc, Bank of Scotland plc and Cheltenham & Gloucester plc are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Cheltenham & Gloucester Savings is a division of Lloyds TSB Bank plc.

HBOS plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland, number 218813. Telephone: 020 7626 1500.

Lloyds Banking Group plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland, number 95000. Telephone: 0131 225 4555.

Contacts:
Customer Services
0845 739 4959
customerrelations@halifax.co.uk

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