Savers’ ‘winter of discontent’ continues as rates hit new lows MONEY

Years of rock bottom interest rates have squeezed savers returns
Years of rock bottom interest rates have squeezed savers returns

The typical fixed bond rates on offer have plunged to new lows in a further blow to savers, according to a financial information website.

Moneyfacts.co.uk said it has recorded a “staggering” 222 rate cuts to the fixed bonds on the market in the first two months of 2016, with the highest reduction at 0.74%.

The spate of cuts, which come after bond rates had started to creep upwards slightly last year, means that the average one-year fixed rate bond pays 1.34% interest, down from 1.5% six months ago.

The average three-year fixed bond pays 1.86%, down from 2.09% six months ago, while over the same period the typical five-year fixed-rate bond on offer has dipped from 2.64% to 2.46% now.

Years of rock bottom interest rates have squeezed savers’ returns. But from April 6, a new personal savings allowance will be introduced, allowing people to ring-fence more of their savings interest from the taxman.

A basic-rate taxpayer will be able to earn up to £1,000 interest on savings income tax-free per year, while a higher-rate taxpayer will be able to earn up to £500.

The Government has said the new allowance will mean most people will no longer pay tax on their savings interest.

Charlotte Nelson, a finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk whose records on average bond rates go back to 2008, said: “It’s been a winter of discontent for savers - fixed rate bonds have once again plummeted to record lows and there are currently no signs of an end to this downward path.

“Fixed rate bonds are often looked to as the best place to get a decent interest rate, and given that rates were starting to creep upwards last year, this new turn of events is extremely disappointing.”