NORTHERN Ireland has seen a bigger proportional decline in the number of cash ISA holders in recent years than other regions of the UK, research has found.
Data from HMRC, obtained by peer-to-peer lender EasyMoney, revealed a 28 per cent decrease in the number of cash ISA holders in Northern Ireland, dropping from 219,000 in 2010/11 to 157,000 in 2015/16.
The second-largest decline was in Scotland, where the number of cash ISA holders fell by 20 per cent, followed by Wales (13 per cent). The smallest proportional decline was in England, which saw a 10 per cent drop in the number of cash ISA holders to 8.3 million over the period.
EasyMoney, which is part of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s easy family of brands, claims that the findings show how savers across the UK are shunning cash ISAs due to frustration with low interest rates and are looking for alternatives.
Recent research from EasyMoney showed that those who used cash ISAs last year actually lost money in real terms. The average rate on a cash ISA was just 0.81 per cent last year, according to Bank of England data, while inflation stood at 2.5 per cent on average, which meant investors lost a total of £4.7bn in value.
“Savers across the UK are realising that cash ISAs simply aren’t giving good enough value for their hard-earned money,” said Andrew de Candole, chief executive of EasyMoney.
De Candole suggested that individuals consider putting some of their money into higher-risk investments such as Innovative Finance ISAs for higher returns.
“You can transfer just a portion of your ISA to one with higher target returns if you want to test the water,” he added.
“With time running out before the end of the tax year on 5 April, now is the time for investors to act if they want to avoid another year of low interest rates.”