Women are putting around double the proportion of their earnings away in savings compared with men, research has found.

Female savers typically have 40% of their gross annual average income, or £8,015, in savings, while men have £7,538 or just over a fifth (22%) of their average yearly wage put aside, according to the study of Halifax savings accounts across England and Wales.

piggy bank

Low interest rates have meant it can be difficult to get good returns on investments

Savings as a share of yearly earnings are highest for women in the South West at 49%, closely followed by the East Midlands at 47%, Halifax found.

Wales and the South West have the highest savings by men as a proportion of their earnings, both at 28%.

London has the lowest savings levels compared with annual earnings for both women and men, at 30% and 16% respectively.

Richard Fearon, head of Halifax Savings, said: "Whilst women have slightly higher savings balances than men, the fact that they save almost double the amount of their earnings would suggest that saving is a greater priority to women and they manage their money more effectively to be able to do this."

On a regional basis, biggest savers are in East Anglia, with an average balance of £9,195, while people living in the North East have the lowest average sum put aside, at £7,546.

However, as a proportion of income, people in the North East have a third of their typical annual earnings in savings on average - exactly the same proportion as people living in East Anglia.

The research also found that at a more local level there are sharp variations across the south of England in terms of the sums people are able to put away.

South Buckinghamshire has the highest average savings balances found in the study at £13,459 on average, which is more than three times that of Hackney in London, which recently played host to the Olympics, where the typical savings balance is the lowest in the research at £4,246.

Low interest rates in recent years have meant that savers generally have struggled to find accounts across the market to give them real returns on their nest eggs.

Consumer help website Moneyfacts reported earlier this week on how providers are cutting their savings rates and withdrawing products following the introduction of the government's funding for lending scheme, which aims to kick-start borrowing by giving lenders access to cheap finance.

Analysts have said that the scheme, which was introduced in August, has made banks less reliant on the need to attract savings deposits.

A string of recently-announced energy bill hikes and the rising cost of food, rents and some mortgages are set to place further pressure on people's ability to put any spare cash aside this winter.

Here are the average savings balances by region, with the typical balance followed by the average for women and the average for men, according to Halifax:

  • North East, £7,546, £7,456, £7,514
  • North West, £7,561, £7,589, £7,407
  • Yorkshire and the Humber, £8,012, £8,109, £7,769
  • West Midlands, £7,817, £7,839, £7,654
  • East Midlands, £8,319, £8,410, £8,121
  • East Anglia, £9,195, £9,341, £8,919
  • Greater London, £8,161, £8,330, £7,850
  • South East, £9,128, £9,336, £8,697
  • South West, £8,605, £8,702, £8,359
  • Wales, £7,704, £7,801, £7,506
  • England and Wales, £7,830, £8,015, £7,538