Ahead of the Autumn Statement, Nationwide has again called on Chancellor George Osborne to increase the cash ISA limit from £5,640 to £11,280, equivalent to the current equity ISA maximum.
The call comes as Nationwide revealed in its half-year results a doubling of the number of first-time-buyers it has helped get on the property ladder in the previous six months. Many first-time buyers like to use cash ISAs to help them save a deposit for a mortgage, as shown by the popularity of Nationwides Save to Buy ISA.
By doubling the cash ISA limit to £11,280, Nationwide says first-time buyers would be able to build a larger deposit in a tax-free vehicle. The change would also help savers concerned at the erosion of their income as inflation continues to outpace the returns they are earning on their cash savings. Nationwide has continually called for this change for over two years.
Graham Beale, chief executive of Nationwide said: "The Chancellor has a real opportunity to help borrowers and savers alike in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 5 December. Many savers prefer the security and flexibility of cash savings, but the current ISA restrictions are limiting the amount they can save tax-free.
"I believe that if the cash ISA limit is increased to £11,280 from its current limit of £5,640 it will not only help savers address the inflationary pressures, it will also help borrowers struggling to raise a deposit for a home. A change of this nature would provide a fairer and simplified offer to consumers wanting to save through an ISA."
In its half-year results Nationwide reported it had accounted for almost 82% of all UK net mortgage lending in the last six months. During that period the Society helped 20,000 people buy their first home, double the previous year.
Notes to editors:
Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as the second largest savings provider and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.
Since the credit crunch began in 2007, Nationwide has remained profitable against a very difficult economic environment. In the half year ending September 2011 Nationwide made a strong underlying profit of £172 million – up 17% from the previous year.
Customers can manage their finances in branch, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 16,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.