How to cope with financial difficulties

Euan Mee, the lead character in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme's (FSCS) new consumer awareness programme The FSCS has been busy promoting the fact that it protects savings up to £85,000 - up from £50,000

Threats to the safety of savings, and the search for good returns at times of low interest rates, have been a concern for savers.

An array of information is available through the BBC News website and various organisations offer help.

The rescue of Northern Rock and the subsequent banking crisis brought the safety of savings into sharp focus.

Savings up to £85,000 per person, per authorised institution, are now guaranteed, should any regulated bank, building society or credit union go bust. The situation can be complicated, so we've produced a guide to how savings are covered.

The Financial Services Authority(FSA) publishes the current list of the authorised institutions and which brands they own.

A couple with a joint account is covered per person.

So each person in a couple would have £85,000 covered in the account - so up to £170,000 in total would be protected.

Schemes in the EU have to offer similar compensation, including a scheme in the Irish Republic, which we've explained in a seperate piece.

The UK compensation arrangements are run by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. It has a guide to how to claim on its website.

You can always go to the BBC News website's in-depth section on savings and investments for the latest news and guides.

If you are new to saving, or want to get more from what you have already put by, the free, independent Moneymadeclear website has some basic guides to different ways to save and explains some of the jargon you might come across.

There are numerous price comparison websites which let people research the best deals for savings, investments, insurance and mortgages.

Among them are Moneyfacts and Moneysupermarket as well as the official Moneymadeclear website.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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