The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE - Marc Sid­well

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

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