Nationwide calls on on Chancellor to cut confusion on ISAs

Equal ISA limits could encourage more tax-free saving in the UK

03 December 2013

Nationwide Building Society has urged Chancellor George Osborne to use this week’s Autumn Statement to make changes to ISAs which could boost UK savers. Chief Executive Graham Beale has renewed his call for the Chancellor to equalise cash and equity ISA limits, along with a relaxing of rules to enable savers to transfer their money from equity ISAs to cash ISAs.

Mr Beale said: ”Despite the economic upturn, interest rates for savers remain at an historic low, so the Autumn Statement provides the Chancellor with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate support for ordinary savers by making ISA limits easier to understand, encouraging people to make more use of their tax-efficient ISA allowance.

”Disparity between cash and equity ISA limits is a long standing anomaly that not only feels unfair for those ordinary savers who prefer to put their savings into a cash ISA, but also leads to widespread confusion around how they can maximise their tax-efficient ISA allowance.”

Currently the annual ISA limit is £11,520 per person – although savers can invest up to the maximum of £11,520 in an equity ISA, they can only save up to a maximum of £5,760 in a cash ISA. Nationwide has continually urged the Chancellor to make the limits equal because the levels are confusing and unfair to cash ISA savers in particular.

Earlier this year, the Society undertook research in conjunction with YouGov* that demonstrated two thirds (66%) of ISA savers wanted cash ISA limits brought into line with higher equity limits for all savers, and that almost a third (31%) found the differences between the two limits confusing.

The Society is also calling for the Chancellor to change ISA rules to allow transfers from existing equity ISAs into cash ISAs. Mr Beale continued: “This would give savers more control over their tax-efficient investments, particularly for pensioners and those approaching retirement that might prefer to have their savings in cash.”

Notes to editors:

About Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers 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 members.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 15,000 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.

*Research undertaken by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2081 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13-15 March 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults aged 18+

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