Savers lose out as inflation creeps up to 2.7%

Hot air baloons

The price of goods rose once again in May 2013 as inflation increased from 2.4% to 2.7%, piling more pressure on cash-strapped savers and pensioners.

The rise in the consumer prices index means that those who rely on their savings for an income will have even fewer accounts that match or beat inflation.

The main reason for rising inflation in May was an increase in fuel and petrol prices, according to the Office for National Statistics, while an increase in the price of clothing also contributed.

It takes inflation back to the levels seen between October 2012 and March 2013.

Howard Archer, chief economist at HIS Global Insight, said consumers are the losers as rising prices puts the squeeze on everyone's household budgets. He said: "The squeeze on consumer purchasing power remains appreciable given that inflation is running at essentially double underlying annual average earnings growth of 1.3% in April 2013."

Suffering savers

But savings experts warned that pensioners and anyone else relying on an income from their cash investments are the biggest losers.

Andrew Hagger of said that we're now back to the situation where no savings accounts beat inflation. "It's yet another set of depressing inflation figures for savers," he added.

"With CPI at 2.7% a basic rate taxpayer needs to earn 3.375% before tax and a higher-rate 40% taxpayer needs to generate 4.50% to stop their savings being eroded by inflation."

There is now just one savings account that taxpayers can access, which will match or beat inflation. This is an easy access cash ISA with First Direct on a balance of £40,000. "Not only do you need to have built up a large ISA balance which can be transferred, but you must also have a First Direct 1st Current Account to qualify," explains Anna Bowes of

Non-taxpayer have a few more options, but only if they are prepared to tie their money up. First Save has a 5 year Fixed Rate Bond paying 2.90% gross/AER. ICICI, Union Bank UK and Shawbrook Bank are all offering 2.75% gross/AER, fixed for 5 years.

First Direct, M&S and HSBC also have Regular Saver Account available for qualifying customers, paying 6% gross fixed for 12 months. But the interest earned does not equate to 6% on the whole amount saved over the course of the year as only the first premium is invested for the 12 months.

The best fixed rate ISA, which is open to anyone, is offering just 2.50% - fixed until 31/5/16. "But if you have a current account with Smile, you could open a 2 year Fixed Rate ISA which is paying slightly more at 2.60% gross/AER (fixed until 5/4/2015)," adds Bowes.

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