Increase in Savings Accounts due to a Rise of Tuition Fees

Monday, February 14, 2011

Savings Levels Fell in 2010 but saw Minor Recovery in Q4

READING, England, February 15, 2011 - Britons' savings ( were
given an unexpected boost in the final quarter of 2010, after the
government's proposed tuition fee hikes prompted parents to put away more

According to the ING Direct Consumer Savings Monitor, a
quarter of parents (23 per cent) have either started a university fund (13
per cent) or increased the amount they put away (10 per cent) in response to
the planned fee increases, contributing to a 3.6 per cent rise in accessible
savings in the final quarter of 2010.

This kind of saving is most common amongst parents of children
under five, suggesting the adoption of long-term savings plans similar to US
'college funds' - where parents save years, or even decades in advance. This
is reflected in ING Direct's ( figures, with
those aged 16-34 - who are most likely to have young children - topping up
their savings the most (15 per cent increase).(1)

Alternatively, many are reconsidering the value of higher
education. Around a quarter of 16-17 year olds (24 per cent) are rethinking
their options in light of the planned hike(2) and one in eight (13 per cent)
parents of teenagers are reassessing whether university is right for their
child given the increased cost.

Yet despite the savings 'bounce', the rise was not enough to
prevent an overall decline in accessible reserves across the year, with
levels falling by 11 per cent (GBP221) in 2010. This has left savings levels
of ordinary Britons standing at GBP1,834.

Factors contributing to this fall included rising prices and
static incomes during 2010. There was also a distinct desire amongst Britons
to reduce their dependence on credit, cutting their average unsecured debt by
7.7 per cent (GBP234 fall to average of GBP2,812), often at the expense of
cash reserves.

It is also clear that the British public see 2011 as a year
for belt-tightening, with a third (32 per cent) planning to restore their
savings and a similar number (28 per cent) intending to cut down debt.
Furthermore there is clear evidence that the VAT rise will have an impact on
spending, with 45 per cent of Brits intending to reduce their expenditure due
to this tax increase.

Understandably, those most determined to set their savings
plans ( on track in the
New Year are those who had the most difficulty in 2010.(3) Young people (aged
16-34) struggled most, with their reserves almost cut in half across the year
(48 per cent fall). Married women also saw their savings fall significantly
across the year (25 per cent fall) after men bore the brunt of the savings
decline experienced in 2009. The only significant 'savings winners' of 2010
were those aged 45-54, who were able to increase their rainy-day reserves by
six per cent.

ING Direct CEO, Richard Doe, commented on the findings:

"While we've seen savings levels decline for much of the year,
the final quarter has brought with it an unexpected bounce, clearly driven by
parents saving in response to the proposed hike in tuition fees.

"We'll have to wait and see if this leads to any sort of
savings renaissance, as while Britons are clearly determined to restore their
cash reserves in 2011, there will be a number of obstacles which will make
saving difficult."

James Knightley, ING Group senior economist, said:

"2010 was a tough year for savers and unfortunately the
environment will become even more difficult in 2011 given the scale of fiscal

"With wages failing to keep pace with the cost of living and
households continuing to pay down debt this leaves us with two possible
outcomes for savers. We suspect that the most likely is that they further run
down their savings in order to fund ongoing spending. Alternatively they can
save more, but this will mean less money to spend on goods and services - a
situation that will put the UK economic recovery at risk."

For a full copy of the latest report from the ING Direct Consumer Savings
Monitor, visit


1. Those aged 16-34 increased their savings by 15 per cent,
compared to those aged 35-54 (two per cent) or those aged 55+ (four per
cent), suggesting that it is the younger age cohort which are driving the
rise in average savings observed in Q4 2010.

2. 24 per cent of parents of children aged 16-17 said their
child was reassessing university as an option for them, in light of the
changes to tuition fee levels.

3. Those most determined to restore their savings balances in
2011 were married women (37 per cent) and young people (41 per cent).

All figures quoted are from the findings of the ING Direct Consumer
Savings Monitor. Full methodology can be found in the latest report,
available at

The term 'ordinary Briton' is used to illustrate the fact that
the ING Direct Consumer Savings Ratio uses median averages for savings as the
distribution of savings is so strongly skewed by the very wealthy (mean
averages give figures of around GBP20,000).

Sampling methodology

A sample of 1,300 UK adults, fully representative of the UK
adult population is recruited on a monthly basis by PureProfile, one of the
world's leading research panels, with more than 600,000 panellists worldwide.
This sample contains approximately 1,000 savers (approx 25% of Britons have
no savings).

The interviewees are interviewed over the same 7 day period
over the last week of every calendar month. Interviewees are asked an
identical series of tracking questions every month. These tracking questions
commenced in January 2009 and run on a monthly basis. This quarter's findings
come from the results of October, November and December 2010 tracking.

A further representative sample of 2000 UK adults is also questioned in
the midpoint of each quarter, on a quarterly basis.

For more information please contact: Chris Blackwood, Band & Brown Communications. Chris.Blackwood at / T: +44-(0)20-3451-9407 M: +44-(0)779-524-7275, Martin Rutland, ING Direct, Martin.rutland at / +44-(0)1189-381969

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