Happy teenage women

In Kids We Trust

Windfalls await 6.3 million young people over the next ten years who had bank accounts set up under a government scheme

Millions of teenagers have access to savings pots set up in their name. Child Trust Funds were launched by a previous government in 2002 – and later scrapped in 2011. The government paid £250 into the account when a child was born, and added another £250 when they turned seven. For lower-income families, the payment was £500.

Young people who are now turning 18 can access the money for the first time. For some, the total could be worth well over £1,000.

The then government hoped the scheme would help people save for our kids’ future. The idea was that the savings could be used to help fund further education or living costs. Financial experts believe the scheme will particularly benefit young black and Asian people. Many, however, may have no idea there is a windfall waiting for them.

Not all parents took advantage of the scheme but anyone turning 18 should check. The government itself set up accounts for 1.8 million babies whose parents did not respond. This includes children in care, whose local council should have set one up for them.

About 6.3 million people born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011 should benefit.

Those of us who are unsure should find out using the Government Gateway system which tracks down funds. We can ask an advice agency for help using the system. Any unclaimed Funds will move into an ISA (Individual Savings Account) and continue to gain interest.

The Financial Times calls for similar schemes to be launched to help address the wealth gap. Black workers, it reports, earn on average nine per cent less, and Asian workers 20 per cent less, than white workers.

The Money and Pensions Service has all the details about Child Trust Funds and tracking down the savings.

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