Lost track of your baby’s savings? Don’t miss out – there’s £1.5bn to be claimed
Is your child a trust-fund baby without knowing it? More than a million British children are sitting on a forgotten nest egg from the mothballed Child Trust Fund (CTF) scheme, brought in by Gordon Brown, the chancellor in 2002.
Today the first children who received the taxpayer-funded savings accounts are celebrating their 16th birthdays. They are now old enough to manage their CTF investments themselves. And in two years’ time, when they turn 18, they will get the opportunity to spend the money however they like.
No new CTFs have been created since the launch of its successor, the Junior Isa (Jisa), in 2011, but six million children received a CTF, including a government cash bonus, during the nine years in which the scheme was active. To achieve that huge scale, many accounts were opened automatically by HMRC. This was done if parents did not claim an account before their babies turned one.
Of the 6.1 million CTFs, 1.7 million were opened by the taxman. A third of the accounts opened this way are now lost to their owners. CTFs were always intended as a universal project, provided to every British citizen at birth and giving them access to a modest sum of capital when they entered adulthood. That means middle-class children, and even the children of the very wealthy, may have a mislaid or forgotten account.
According to the latest calculations from the Share Foundation, a charity, of the 1.1 million “Addressee gone away” accounts, 614,000 belong to wealthy or middle-class families.
These accounts don’t usually contain vast sums, especially if they just accrued investment returns on the initial bonus – but the amounts are large enough to be meaningful for someone entering adulthood.
For middle-class children, the average value of a lost CTF is £970. For children with especially wealthy parents, the average is £3,950 because of additional family contributions. Overall, the amount of money in limbo, after a significant investment of taxpayers’ hardearned cash, is shockingly high – nearly £1.5bn.
As CTFs start to move towards maturity, the Share Foundation is calling for a stronger government effort to reunite these accounts with their owners.
But you don’t have to wait. If you think you have a missing account, you should start tracking it down today.
First of all, check that your child is eligible. They must have been born on or after Sept 1 2002 but before the end of 2010. In that period, every British child was eligible at birth and should have an account.
To find a mislaid CTF, you will need an online Government Gateway log-in, the same one you use to pay taxes online.
Once you have your log-in details, the “Child Trust Fund” contact page
As the Child Trust Fund and its first beneficiaries turn 16, more than a million accounts are unclaimed