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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 23:26 GMT 00:26 UK
Britons hoard 1bn cash
British households are sitting on an estimated 945m cash pile, according to a new survey - and much of it can be found under sofa cushions.

What is 945m worth?
laid end to end in 5 notes, the cash would stretch from Land's End to John O'Groats 18 times over
It is greater than the combined GDP of Grenada and Gambia
It could fund the NHS for seven days
Buy Manchester United three times over
Source: Royal London

According to The Royal London British Savings Report, 345m is lost down the back of sofas nationwide, with an additional 600m hoarded in piggy banks and whiskey bottles.

The south east and London are home to the greatest number of hoarders, with an estimated 288m of loose change lying around in households in these regions.

Using some of this money might help alleviate some people's money worries - a quarter of the population lies awake at night worrying about money, with 10.5 million nights of sleep lost every week.

Savings gap

According to the survey, those most likely to worry about money are the young and people approaching retirement.

Who hoards the most?
South east: 153m
London: 135m
Scotland: 122m
West Midlands: 107m
Wales 80m
Yorkshire/ Humberside 72m
North West 56m
North: 49m
East Midlands: 60m
East Anglia: 30m
South West: 51m

Across the country, the average amount of money people save every month is 358.

Women save on average 60 less than men, putting away 325 a month.

Of those people who saved in April, people in the south west, south east, the north and Wales were saving the most - on average, more than 400.

Although most people identify themselves as savers rather than spenders, 27% of those who don't save regularly prefer to gamble with their money instead.

There is increasing concern over whether people are saving enough for their retirement.

Last year, the Association of British Insurers, an insurance trade body, said there was a 27bn savings gap between what people were actually saving and the amount that needs to be saved in order to secure an acceptable retirement income.

Steve Worthington, professor of marketing and financial services at Staffordshire University, said: "Savings should be an essential part of everyone's financial planning."

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