Government ‘Help to Save’ programme fails to live up to the hype

Tom Selby
28 February 2019

 

·        New figures for Help to Save – an initiative announced with great fanfare by former Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of the 2016 Budget – suggest it has failed to live up to the hype (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/781891/Help_to_Save_Statistics_February_2019.pdf)

·        64,350 people have deposited just over £13 million in Help to Save accounts, receiving a combined bonus of around £6.5 million

·        At launch the Government said up to 3.5 million people could benefit from the reform

·        Average deposits have been £44 a month, just below the £50 limit

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, comments:

“Given the hype around the Help to Save initiative ahead of the 2016 Budget, it is hard to escape the conclusion the programme has been something of a damp squib.

“While it is clearly positive over 60,000 people have benefited from a 50% top-up on money saved through the scheme, that is a small fraction of the 3.5 million who could have claimed.

“Given the scheme is aimed directly at those on the lowest incomes, it is perhaps little surprise take-up has been so low. If you are on benefits and struggling to make ends meet, even a significant savings carrot will make little difference to your spending decisions.”

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