Most Scots favour ISA saving plan

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More than half of the Scottish population opened an individual savings account (ISA) last year.

A total of three million people put cash away in an ISA in 2012, thought to be 51 per cent of the population, but only 16 per cent (850,000) invested in a higher-risk stocks and shares product, a Scottish Widows Savings and Investment report said.

The majority of people surveyed for the report (87 per cent) will not be putting money in a stock market-related ISA in the next 12 months.

A quarter have previously made full use of their annual cash ISA limit, compared with 6 per cent who did so with a stocks and shares ISA.

Scottish Widows said market-linked products involve a degree of risk and require a longer investment period but offer greater returns.

Half of cash ISA owners said the tax-free element was the main reason for investing.

Just 11 per cent are saving solely for the long term, with 20 per cent saving short term and 36 per cent for both.

Iain McGowan, head of savings and investments said: “It is encouraging to see some small signals of progress in Scots’ savings habits from this year’s report, but there’s still a very long way to go.”