If you have children that were born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011 then there is a good chance that there will be a trust fund waiting for your child as soon as they turn 18, in the form of a government led Child Trust Fund.
The scheme was started back in 2001 in the form of a promise in the Labour Party’s 2001 election manifesto. It was eventually launched back in January 2005. Eligible children received an initial subscription from the government by way of a voucher for at least £250 per child in the first year and a further £250 when they reached the age of 7. The payment was increased to £500 per payment for lower income families. However, the child would only get access to the money when they turned 18.
The idea was for children to have some savings at the age of 18, to assist with costly activities like further education or living alone for the first time.
The long-term tax-free savings account could be added to by the child’s parents, family or even friends up to £9,000 per year between them.
The government even went as far as setting up funds for the 1.8 million children whose parents did nothing. It is thought that many of the eligible children don’t even know these funds exist.
There are estimates that each month around 55,000 children will be turning 18 and are able to access their money for the first time. According to the HMRC, in total, over 6 million people will be able to redeem the money available in their Child Trust Fund.
The contribution side of it was stopped in 2010 with the whole Child Trust Fund scheme being scrapped in 2011. It was replaced with the Junior ISA scheme, although no government contributions are included with a Junior ISA.
How do you find out where your child’s CTF is being held?
According to the charity the Share Foundation, there is an estimated 1 million lost Child Trust Funds. Most of those cases occurred when family’s moved home and simply forgot to update their details with their particular Child Trust Fund provider.
So in order to help reunite people with their Child Trust Fund the government created a tool which you can access on your child’s behalf via the HMRC website where you fill in an online form. They will tell you who your Child Trust Fund provider is.
In order to access the form you will need your Government Gateway user ID. If you don’t have one you can create one when you fill in the online form. You will also need your child’s Unique Reference Number which will be on your annual CTF statement or your child’s National Insurance Number.
HMRC claim that they will be in touch within 3 weeks of your enquiry by post to explain who to contact. It also shows the address to write to if that’s your preferred means of communication.
It is thought that the savings within these funds could now be worth more than £1,000 or even more in cases where additional contributions were made.