Will pandemic savings go the same way as SSIAs?

CSO draws parallel between Covid build-up of savings and fate of SSIA funds

Former minister for finance Charlie McCreevy: His SSIA scheme was intended to incentivise household saving but the money mainly flowed into property and added to the bubble. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Former minister for finance Charlie McCreevy: His SSIA scheme was intended to incentivise household saving but the money mainly flowed into property and added to the bubble. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

What did we do with our SSIA (special savings incentive account) money back in the 2000s? We spent it on housing. More precisely, on deposits for home purchases. In a twisted way, we used our savings windfall to acquire more debt, reaping a world of pain in the process.

The SSIA episode is more relevant to today’s economy than you might think. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday drew a parallel between the additional €16 billion placed on deposit last year – so-called lockdown savings accruing from households not being able to spend on things like transport, childcare, holidays, eating out – and the €12 billion added at the height of the SSIA incentive in 2006.

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