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Household savings plummet

The public is blind to media and Government warnings of a high risk of pensioner poverty, according to research from Royal London.

Figures from the firm&#39s second British savings report show household savings have taken a nosedive since the first report in May 2002.

The survey shows individuals&#39 regular personal savings, including pensions, bank and building society accounts and Isas, have fallen by 40 per cent to an average £203 a month in October 2002 from £358 in May 2002.

Only 5 per cent of the respondents were worried about planning for retirement despite extensive media coverage of the savings gap.

Royal London says this supports Ron Sandler&#39s findings of a need for a suite of simple products sold with limited advice.

Research company BMRB Access interviewed 976 adults by phone in October 2002.

South Bank University deputy vice chancellor Professor Trevor Watkins says: “We really do have a serious issue here. With the collapse of the stockmarket and dramatic world events, people may feel less inclined to save, reasoning that they may as well enjoy their money rather than risk it in investments.”

Royal London retail chief executive Chris Ide says: “At Royal London, we are well aware that sources of professional financial advice are fast disappearing for many people. As a result, we are identifying new ways in which people can gain easier access to quality advice.

“We have recently announced the launch of a new salesforce distributing simple products to a wider public. We are strongly urging the Government to permit the distribution of savings and pension products using the same uncomplicated process.”

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