Consumer sentiment towards saving fell slightly in April, according to the latest Nationwide UK (Ireland) / ESRI Savings Index.

The monthly measure of people's attitudes towards saving was 101 in April - down one point from the figure recorded in March.

The majority of those surveyed - 60% - said Government policy was discouraging people from saving, with just a quarter believing that now was a good time to save.

More than a third of those who were saving did so to cover unexpected expenses, according to the index, down 10% on a year ago.

Nearly 20% of savers were doing so for educational or training purposes, up on a year ago, while a greater proportion of people were saving for holidays, home purchases or home renovations.

The average amount being saved had also increased since last year.

Around 46% of those surveyed for the latest index were saving more than €100 a month, up 8% on the same time last year.

When asked how they might allocate money they had over and above their day-to-day needs, 47% said they would pay off debts - down 6% from a year ago.

One in ten said they would spend the extra money - up slightly on April 2013 - while 39% said they would save it.