Savers should have option of doubling their Cash ISA - Nationwide
If you're considering an ISA, you'll probably already be aware that £11,280 can be put into a stocks and shares ISA, but only half this amount (£5,640) can be put into a cash ISA. What if you're in a position to use your full ISA allowance, but you don't want to risk it by exposing it to the market?
Should cash ISA limits increase at next Budget?
You wouldn't be the first to think this - various organisations are currently urging the Government to extend the cash ISA limit, allowing the more cautious UK savers, who want to keep their savings in cash, to enjoy the same ISA limit as those who are prepared to risk their money on the stock market.*
Nationwide, the UK's biggest building society, argues for giving savers the option of putting their entire annual ISA allowance into cash ISAs. The case for this move, Nationwide claims, is that the easily-understandable, low-risk nature of cash ISAs would encourage people to save more. With just under half those who are eligible for ISAs actually in possession of one, it certainly seems that any action to encourage saving for all would be a welcome move.
Base Rate leaves fixed rates at a record low
Indeed, with the Bank of England base rate at a record low for the past four years , it's no wonder that many of Britain's savers are feeling discouraged. Fixed-rate cash ISAs no longer offer the interest they once did, and so locking your money away for a set period of time is no longer a guarantee of high returns.
As Richard Marriott of Nationwide points out, raising the cash ISA limit would: "Send out the right message to all of Britain's savers - that it is worth saving, no matter how much or how little. With many first-time buyers struggling to raise a deposit, and with pensioners relying more on their savings income, we believe this is the right time for the Government to act on ISAs."
An alternative to fixed rate cash ISAs
Whether you believe that the government should raise the cash ISA limit or not, it doesn't look likely to happen in the immediate future, so it's a good time to shop around for alternatives in order to get the most from the cash ISA allowance that you do have. Structured deposit plans can offer an alternative to fixed rate cash ISAs during this time of low interest rates. A structured deposit plan essentially bridged the gap between cash savings and investments, because it allows you to save your capital at the same level of risk as a normal cash ISA, while exposing your money to an index, usually the FTSE 100 Index. This allows you to benefit from any Index-related income you might make, while protecting your initial savings. Of course, the markets can be unpredictable, and so you must be prepared for the possibility that you won't make any returns. Even if this is the case, though, you benefit from capital protection, so you can be sure you'll receive it back in full at the end of the plan.
*Sources: ThisIsMoney.co.uk, Nationwide.co.uk