One third of consumers now say they are regular savers, according to the latest Nationwide UK (Ireland)/ESRI Savings Index.

The percentage of people who feel it is now a good time to save has also increased, according to the survey for May, while the percentage of people who do not save at all has fallen.

Despite an increase in the number of regular savers, people are increasingly negative about the Government’s policy on savings, particularly those aged over 50.

Brendan Synnott, managing director of Nationwide UK (Ireland) said this negative sentiment was unlikely to change in the short term, particularly following the European Central Bank’s decision to cut its main interest last week.

However he said there were positive signs coming from the survey, as the figures continued to move in a positive direction.

“During 2014 so far the Savings Index overall has been at its most stable since 2010,” he said.

“This reflects the relative stability in the economy but there are diverging influences underlying the overall trend.”

As part of the survey, consumers were also asked how they would spend any additional money they had after covering all of their necessary expenses.

Close to half – 47% - said they would use the money to pay off debts including their mortgage, which is lower than in May 2013.

More than a third – 36% - said they would save the left-over money, which is slightly higher than in the same month of last year.