Money Matters: Changing priorities for budgets

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Image caption Savers are keen to find how their funds can best work for them

Spooked by the near-collapse of Northern Rock, savers embarked on a flight to safety at the end of the last decade.

Nowhere was this better illustrated than by the queues snaking around Manchester's Trafford Centre at the first in the recent series of BBC Money Matters Roadshows.

People were keen to learn from specialists about savings and investments, and especially about the safety of their savings.

It was a sign of the times, and the Money Matters events - more recently in Glasgow and now in Plymouth - prove to be a guide to what is worrying people in terms of their personal finances.


At the Manchester roadshow in February 2009, many came to ask about how to cope with stock market turmoil and the threats to the future of banks.

Some wanted to find a better home for their savings.

"I just want to make sure that the bank is the best place," said one visitor.

Others were keen for advice and information about the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which now offers full compensation up to £85,000 per saver, per authorised institution, if that institution goes bust.


It is not just savings and investments that are covered at Money Matters.

Prior to the Manchester event, a BBC poll indicated that debt was the greatest concern for people in terms of their finances.

Experts on tax, mortgages, benefits, pensions and small businesses are all on hand at the roadshows.

In October 2009, the roadshow moved on to the Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow, where savings and investments were again popular subjects.

However, questions tended to have moved on from the safety of savings to finding a decent and regular return on the money people had set aside.

Job worries

An extra factor was the effect of the recession, with many people coming for advice after losing their jobs.

This included pensions advice for those who had been made redundant, and so had lost their employer's contribution to a pension fund.

Now the roadshow moves on to the Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth.

The recession might be over, but government cuts, job concerns and a lack of activity in the housing market remain acute issues for people considering how to manage their daily budget.

A week on from Chancellor George Osborne's Budget speech, the BBC's Money Matters Roadshow will again be an interesting bellwether for attitudes to personal finances across the UK.

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