Five pound notesBritons are managing to regularly save the largest cash amounts since last spring, typically putting away £95 a month, a study has found.

Women saving an increased proportion of their income are "almost entirely responsible" for the general rise, the quarterly NS&I Savings Survey found, while men's savings have remained largely unchanged.

By February this year, consumers were putting some 7.66% of their income away on average, an increase on the 7.31% or £88 they were setting aside each month in the previous quarter, the NS&I Savings Survey found.

Women are putting away 8.38% of their income or just over £85 a month, a jump from 7.54% in the previous quarter. But they are still saving less in cash terms than men, who put aside £105 a month or 7.21% of their income, slightly up from 7.20% the last time the study was carried out.

NS&I said women are more likely to motivate themselves by using savings goals, with nearly a third of women doing this compared with a quarter of men.

John Prout, retail director of Treasury-backed NS&I, said savers should use the new financial year starting on Friday as a fresh incentive to improve their finances.

He said: "While many people found saving a challenge last year, our data shows that there has been an improvement in recent months. With saving reaching its highest levels since spring 2011, it appears that people are taking action and committing to setting more money aside for the future.

"Our research shows that savers who set specific goals stand to reap the rewards. Setting an objective is a great way to keep focus, even if you only save a small amount towards it each month."

High living costs have been swallowing up families' potential savings, while record low interest rates have given consumers little return on what they have been managing to put away. However, the tough conditions for savers have shown signs of easing, with the rate of inflation hitting a 15-month low in February.

Despite the increase in savings, more than a fifth of those surveyed said they had less than £1,000 put away and more than one in 10 had nothing put by at all.

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