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A North-South divide persists with savings balances

2nd December 2014 Print

When it comes to savings, customers in southern England are out saving those in northern regions by 10%, according to latest research from Halifax.

Customers in southern England have an average balance of £10,003 compared to £9,128 in northern areas of England and Wales.

There is a wide variation in average balances between regions; the biggest savers are in the east with an average balance of £10,686; the lowest average balances are in the north east (£8,606) – a difference of over £2,000 (24%). The average for England and Wales is £9,592.

Despite the south leading the way with savings, six of the 10 lowest savings areas are actually in the capital - including Hackney (£5,416), Newham (£5,455), Barking and Dagenham (£6,000) and Lewisham (£6,198). However, outside this the top ten is completed by areas all outside the south, including Manchester (£5,852), Corby in Northamptonshire (£6,327), Hull (£6,418) and Blaenau Gwent in south Wales (£6,533).

Savings Balances and Gender

Nationally women (£9,808) just edge men (£9,533) with slightly higher savings balances – a difference of just three percent. Regionally the biggest differential is in the south east (6%) and London (5%) where women have a higher average savings balance than men. The north east is the only region where men out-save women – marginally by just one percent.

Savings balances and average earnings

Female savers in the UK have an average savings balance equivalent to 48% of their gross annual earnings – 20% more than male savers who have an average balance of 28% of their earnings. This is despite male annual earnings being on average two-thirds higher than female earnings (£34,788 compared to £20,972).

Women save a bigger proportion of their earnings than men across all regions in the UK.  The research shows that women have a savings balance equivalent to at least half of their earnings in seven regions; these include the south west (54%), followed by East Midlands (53%), and the east and Yorkshire and the Humber (both 52%). The lowest levels of savings relative to earnings are in London for both women and men (35% and 21% respectively).

Richard Fearon, Head of Halifax Savings, comments: “There are wide variations in savings behavior across the country; typically savers in the south have an average balance that is ten per cent higher than in the north. It is also notable that the amount of savings held by women as a proportion of their earnings is over half in several regions.

“Saving habits can differ greatly, with many savers putting away spare cash for an event such as a holiday or wedding, however, it is still important to plan for the long-term future, such as saving for retirement, particularly as average life expectancy is rising.”