This month, the first people to benefit from Child Trust Funds turn 18 and can access the money put aside for them for the first time. Over the next nine years, thousands of young people in Oxford will be able to manage and access the money put aside for them.
Parents and others could pay more money into the account, subject to an annual cap. Children with disabilities were entitled to extra annual payments into their Trust Fund from the government, because Labour recognized the extra needs young adults with disabilities face.
The idea behind the policy was simple. People with access to savings have long had the ability to put down a deposit on a flat, buy a car, start a business or whatever else they choose to do with that money. Labour wanted to extend to every young person the options that wealthier families took for granted.
So many young people have been having a really tough time recently. Just last month we saw the fiasco over A-level results. The job market for late teenagers is really difficult. And social distancing requirements have taken their toll on teenagers who thrive on being with their friends. So if you have family or friends who are turning 18, why not check out whether they’ve accessed their Child Trust Fund, to potentially give them a little boost? Because the Conservatives stopped the scheme, many people may have forgotten that they have that money to call theirs. Consumer group Which? estimated last year that this could apply to as many as 3 million children and young people, covering accounts containing as much as £2.5 billion.
Here in Oxford East, 11,270 accounts were created, but not all by parents – 3,775 of those accounts were created by the government to make sure no-one was left behind. I don’t want any 18-year-old to miss out on their child trust fund.
HMRC have now made it easier to find your fund: visit https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds/ for details. But every parent, every school, and every employer can help in making sure people who are turning 18 know the money is now theirs to manage. I hope that together we can make sure every young adult in Oxford who had a Child Trust Fund put in place for them, can now get the benefit of it.