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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 18:15 GMT
ISAs here to stay says minister
Treasury Minister Ed Balls
ISAs will be permanent says Treasury Minister Ed Balls
Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are going to become a permanent feature of the UK investment landscape, the government has revealed.

About 16 million adults have accumulated nearly 215 billion in ISAs since they began in 1999.

Initially launched for just 10 years, the tax-free savings policies will now stay in place indefinitely says Treasury Minister Ed Balls.

Keeping them will help build a culture of savings in the UK, he said.

Limit retained

Speaking at a conference of PEP & ISA Managers Association (PIMA), Mr Balls, a close confidante of Gordon Brown, said the new policy would simplify personal savings and helping families put cash aside.

This would "deliver the government's objective of ensuring everyone can share in rising prosperity", he said.

"Our task is to entrench a culture of savings for people of all ages."

As well as extending the life of the ISA, Mr Balls also revealed the funds would keep their current annual savings limit of 7,000 per person.

Child Trust Funds, first launched last year, will be able to be converted into ISAs once they mature.

ISAs involve investing in either cash savings accounts or in stocks and shares.

Under the new proposals the distinction between mini- and maxi-ISAs will disappear.

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