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Coronavirus: Savings gap leaves UK consumers more vulnerable

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UK consumers have less in their savings accounts than their European peers, making them more vulnerable to the economic impact of COVID-19, according to new research.

A survey of 6,000 people conducted in the UK, France and Italy found only 58% of Brits regularly save money for emergencies.

This is compared to 63% in France and 79% in Italy, found a study by money app Yolt.

If their income stopped today, 28% of Brits would be unable to meet their living costs for more than a month and 14% for less than a week.

But savings habits could be changing as 47% of UK respondents said they had taken steps to better understand their financial situation or budget their expenditure, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Anonymised transaction data from a sample of over 60,000 Yolt users has also shown that savings increased 70% in May.  

In France and Italy an even higher proportion of respondents said they changed their approach to their finances due to coronavirus - 51% and 65% respectively.   

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Many firms getting UK emergency loans have links to tax havens, study shows

Pauline van Brakel, chief product officer at Yolt, said: “Whilst the financial impact of coronavirus is likely to be felt for many weeks and months to come, it is reassuring to see that people who are able to save during this period, are doing so.

"Habits are notoriously hard to change, but it could be that this crisis changes the way many people engage with their finances, especially when it comes to saving. There’s never been a more important time to closely manage your money, save where possible and identify areas where you could cut back."