Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Anger at rate cut blow to savers

By Victoria Bone
BBC News


Protesters demonstrate against interest rate cut outside the Bank of England
Jason and Ian are both unemployed and struggling to find work

As the Bank of England cut interest rates to a record low of 0.5%, a few hardy souls refused to take the decision lying down.

Ian Dixon, Edwin Jowsey and Jason Hawksfield are furious at the impact on savers. They took their protest to the heart of the City - demonstrating outside the Bank itself.

Waving a National Savers and Pensioners Union (NSPU) placard, Ian said: "There's a lot of apathy now in this country. We're living in financial Armageddon, but people just seem to be accepting it.

"Without savers none of the banks would have any money, but they seem to forget that when they make these decisions.

"It's unbelievable really. It's not the Bank of England's money, it's our money and we're trying to make people aware of it."

'Battered'

Ian, Edwin and Jason travelled down from Whitby, North Yorkshire, to strike their own small blow at Britain's financial centre.

Forty-five-year-old Ian was made redundant in December from his job in manufacturing - an industry he says has been "battered".

"Everybody is affected by the interest rate," he said. "People with investments, pensioners living off savings, young people trying save up to get on the housing ladder.

It seems like people on benefits are now doing better than the people who tried to look after themselves
Edwin Jowsey, protester

"They say they're cutting it to get the system going again, get people spending, but it's not working. From a personal point of view I think it's making it worse. I certainly can't feel any benefit."

Ian says he is lucky to own his own home, but he fears for others close to him.

"My father and mother are retired," he said. "Fortunately, they do have some other income to live off, but they used the interest on their savings for things like holidays. Now that's all changed."

Edwin, 23, was protesting on behalf of his 70-year-old father Cliff.

"He was in manufacturing, he made heaters, and he worked hard all his life to build up savings," Edwin said.

"Until recently he was living off the interest, but in the last few months it has become practically worthless.

"He is having to look for other options, but I don't know what that will be. He has a couple of properties that he rents, but the income on those is a bit unreliable.

"It seems like people on benefits are now doing better than the people who tried to look after themselves, who tried to do the right thing and put money away."

Take action

Edwin and Jason would both like to buy a house or flat, but in Edwin's words, the very idea is "a joke". "There's absolutely no hope," he said.

Edwin Jowsey, interest rate protester
Edwin is worried about his retired father Cliff who relied on his savings

Jason, 21, is a gardener and his work is seasonal. Last year, he worked for Scarborough Council, but he is afraid his contract will not be renewed.

"I'd love to buy a place, but it's impossible," he said. "Even if I could start saving it would take forever."

Kevin Bradshaw, from the NSPU, said savers and pensioners were losing out while their money was "being used without their permission to go towards all sorts of things such as bonuses and bail outs".

The union wants all those people affected to join together and take action.

Ian, meanwhile, had just one message for those making decisions about Britain's economic future.

"Think about the people on the other end of them. You are making decisions that can change people's lives."



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