As the first Special Savings Investment Accounts mature people are planning how to spend their savings.

The Special Saving Incentive Account (SSIA) was a special high interest savings account, open to savers in Ireland between May 2001 and April 2002. Five years later the first 50,000 SSIAs are maturing, with many account holders set to have £20,000 at their disposal.

In spite of good saving intentions many people are planning to spend most of their windfall on items such as home improvements, holidays, and cars. Bank of Ireland customer Paul Scannell has already spent most of his SSIA, as he will be using the money to clear a credit card bill.

The rest is going for a car.

Economists are warning that those in line for a payment would be well advised to save as well as spend. Rossa White of Davy Stockbrokers says the purpose of the SSIA was to take some heat out of the economy. He believes the SSIA maturity is happening at a bad time as the economy is growing strongly,

If anything it may add to inflation pressure.

Over the next year, people will receive their savings plus an additional 25% from the government. The biggest spend is forecast for April 2007, the final month of the scheme when 40% of all accounts will mature at the same time.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 31 May 2006. The reporter is Anna Murphy.