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Campaign to find lost child trust funds

Young people should have responsibility for their Child Trust Fund accounts ahead of their ability to access their funds at 18 and that includes over £1.7 million children who may not even know that they have access to a CT. This according to The Share Foundation, www.sharefound.org, which administers the Child Trust Fund and Junior ISA schemes for looked-after children and young people on behalf of the Department for Education.

The Child Trust Fund was introduced in 2002 by Gordon Brown to encourage asset-based welfare and establish a savings habit among children, providing a cushion of financial assets as they embark on adult life and enabling them to be confident in the management of their finances. The scheme was designed to be both universal and progressive.

Over six million young people now own these largely Government-funded accounts. The Coalition Government stopped contributing in 2011 and while accounts already open remained active increases in their value have resulted from a combination of market growth and in a few cases from family contributions.

The Share Foundation argues that by giving children responsibility for their accounts it will help them to learn financial awareness first hand and is calling on parents and guardians to allow it and schools to encourage it.  

However, over one million accounts are lost to the young person to whom they belong, almost entirely following their accounts being opened by HM Revenue and Customs on their behalf, because parents/guardians had not done so within the first year of their birth. There were 1.74 million accounts opened in this way, out of 6.14 million in total and, in the case of families in receipt of Child Tax Credit, virtually all accounts were opened by HMRC. Some of these accounts were taken ownership of but circa 34% of all HMRC-allocated accounts - nearly 37% for the most disadvantaged families in receipt of Child Tax Credit - are ‘Addressee Gone Away’ or 440,000 lost accounts now worth nearly £0.75 billion, including over £400 million from Government contributions.

The Share Foundation has put forward a proposal to Government to address this specific area which it hopes will receive attention in the November budget.

Gavin Oldham, chairman of The Share Foundation said: “After a decade of relative neglect, the years ahead are vital for achieving the original purpose of the Child Trust Fund, which affects so many young people across the United Kingdom. I am determined to ensure that, working with my colleagues in The Share Foundation and beyond, the scheme does indeed make a significant contribution to breaking the cycle of deprivation in the United Kingdom, and to helping all young people to develop their potential in adult life”.

Existing Child Trust Funds (CTF) are long-term tax-free savings/investment accounts into which up to £4,128 can be added each year by family and friends. All income and capital growth are tax free.

To find out how to find a lost Child Trust Fund access https://www.shares4schools.co.uk/useful-resources/find-ctf/

 

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