This paper reports the results of research designed to identify the features of a savings account that would appeal particularly to low-to-middle income families while also being viable for financial service providers.

Families in the UK, especially low-to-middle income families - the median family income in 2008/09 was around £26,000 - find it hard to save, other than for short-term events such as Christmas and family birthdays. Among the reasons they give is a belief that the right savings vehicle does not exist for them.

Based on workshops with would-be service users and providers, this report identifies the key features of an attractive and feasible 'life-course savings account' and proposes two specific savings products: a Lifetime Bonus Savings Account, aimed at encouraging saving, particularly to help families cope with emergencies, and a Long-term Investment Account, designed to replace the existing cash ISA scheme for savers at a higher level. These kinds of savings products balance rewards for savers against the cost to the public purse.