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Hooray for Mr Osborne –who cares about politics?

Pensioner Bond boost is great news for families, says Steve McDowell.

Any news from HM Treasury has a tendency to split the nation’s opinions and this week is no different.
This week Mr Osborne extended the deadline for people over 65 to buy his innovative Pensioner Bonds from National Savings & Investments by three months that’s until May. 

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you would know there will be General Election in May which could be one of the closest in living memory. So depending on your political viewpoint, either Mr Osborne is a generous man to a vulnerable sector of society who prefer to save cash but have been seriously disadvantaged over many years by minimal interest rates; or it’s an obviously cynical attempt at attracting votes from middle class families.

Here’s an example of the split opinion: Mr Osborne says he has now made £15bn available for the bonds. Pensioner crusader Dr Ros Altmann welcomed the news on behalf of people no longer working who perhaps had lost the savings habit – she called for the minimum age to be reduced to 60. And in a great bit of Scroogery, Mark Littlewood of the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank said it would cost the Government £300m and was a ‘direct subsidy’ to people of a working age.

Frankly, who cares whether you cheer the pages of The Daily Telegraph or scowl over The Guardian – it’s terrific news for families.

As a reminder, there are two simple products available – there’s a one-year fix at 2.8 per cent and a three-year bond fixed at 4 per cent for 3 years.  The minimum investment is £500 and the maximum is £10,000 in each product.
According to the consensus of experts, interest rates are extremely unlikely to go higher than these numbers during the time-frame of the bonds themselves.

So to not take that nice Mr Osborne up on his kind offer of a few quid of free Government money is, quite simply, madness.


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