Saturday, 9 May 2009

Equality Bill could target 'silver savers'

The government's Equality Bill could outlaw savings accounts aimed at over 50s, the Building Societies Association (BSA) has warned.

The bill, due to have its second reading in the Commons on Monday, could prevent banks and building societies from offering savings accounts aimed specifically for older customers as it could be considered age discrimination.

But this would be the worst possible time to scrap these products, which often offer higher interest rates than other accounts, the BSA said.

Adrian Coles, director-general of the BSA, said: "It concerns us that this legislation could result in the loss of an account that meets the important social need of older savers.

"Whilst we support efforts to outlaw unjustifiable age discrimination, we believe these accounts - like children's accounts - have a legitimate role to play."

The BSA added the government had recently recognised the over 50s group needs help as savings rates fall, by increasing the ISA limit for those over 50 ahead of the rest of the population.

"We would like assurance that the future of the silver saver account will not become uncertain and that this type of product be exempted from the legislation," Mr Coles added.

The accounts for 'silver savers' often advertise higher interest rates and provide a straightforward service with a regular income, the BSA said.

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