OpinionDec 12 2013

Diamonds are forever but bonds come and go

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Finally the chickens have come home to roost. With prices inflation outstripping wages inflation and savings paying next to nothing, people appear to be preparing for a spending spree. Some £23bn disappeared from long-term savings but much of this seems to have moved to short-term savings accounts, presumably waiting to be spent.

But what are they planning to spend on?

The real issue for the savings industry is to consider why this has happened and what can be done to reverse it.

For the better part of a decade chancellors have talked the talk on saving but failed to walk the walk. Incentives have been practically non-existent. Raising the annual Isa limit may allow the better-off to squirrel away a few more pounds but it does nothing to encourage lower earners to save.

So perhaps it is hardly surprising that some appear to have decided that they have had enough of austerity and the time has come to spend.

Did these investments suddenly lose their lustre for investors between December and January?

Axe looming for the Mas

Many of us have long wondered what on earth the Money Advice Service is for? It appears to bring nothing to the table that is not already there, other than a hefty bill.

It is good to see that MPs have reached a similar conclusion, two and a half years after its launch.

There are already huge amounts of free information available on the internet for consumers from both commercial and non-commercial organisations. So why do we have another operation duplicating this?

It even produces pointless surveys telling us the blatantly obvious. Did you know that some people borrow money at Christmas? Gasp.

For now it has been granted a stay of execution but with a Treasury review pending the axe could fall before the next election.

Tony Hazell writes for the Daily Mail’s Money Mail section