COVID-19 widens financial wellbeing gap

The number of people being unable to save has almost doubled to 21% in the last year, according to figures from Yorkshire Building Society.

The society’s research, based on a sample of 2,000 UK adults, showed that just 12% had said they were not able to save in 2019, before the the financial wellbeing gap in the UK widened due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a regional level, Yorkshire and the Humber has seen the biggest year-on-year increase in non-savers (18%) – meaning almost one in three people (29%) in the region are not saving. The research showed that South West has had the smallest increase of non-savers (3%) in the last year, with 17% of people in the region not saving.

The Yorkshire did also suggest there are signs of increased savings activity in light of COVID-19, with many people seeing their spending reduced and savings growing under lockdown. The society found that one in four (25%) people reported increasing their monthly savings, while over a third (34%) have reduced spending during the pandemic.

Figures also showed that 30% people are now able to save £200 or more a month, which compared to around a fifth (21%) in 2019.

“The financial wellbeing gap in the UK has grown and we’re still not saving enough as a nation with over a fifth of people not saving at all,” commented The Yorkshire director of savings, Tina Hughes. “Now more than ever, in the current economic uncertainty and in a recession, it’s important that we help people to save and build up their financial resilience.

“One of the things the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated is that anyone could find themselves in financial difficulties and may need to rely on savings, which is why we want to continue to help people establish a healthy savings pot and improve their financial wellbeing to protect themselves from any sudden and unexpected changes to their situation.

“We’re not trying to limit life’s pleasures but we do want to support a save-first culture to help people save the money that would enable them to withstand a financial shock without relying on credit or debt.”

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