“Millions of pounds of children’s savings could go unclaimed” warns Local AM

Huw Irranca-Davies AM is calling on all parents and teenagers about to turn 18 to check they have access to government-backed trust funds, set up when they were born. In some cases these child trust accounts, which will mature this Autumn, may contain around £1,000, could be lost after the UK Government scrapped the Labour scheme.

Welsh Labour is demanding the UK Government does more to make sure all young people in Ogmore who are about to turn 18 are properly reunited with their child trust fund.

Child Trust Funds were set up by the former UK Labour Government in 2002. All children born from 1 September 2002 received an initial payment of at least £250 before the scheme was abolished by Conservative Ministers in 2011. It is a long-term tax-free scheme designed to help boost savings for children with those from low income families receiving an additional £250.

The Welsh Government boosted the scheme even further with Child Trust Fund Cymru in Autumn 2009. The scheme provided an additional top-up of £50 for all children in Wales, with a payment of £100 to children living in low income households as they began primary school.  The first wave of the child trust funds will mature in September 2020, with access to savings for all children born in 2002.

Ogmore AM Huw Irranca-Davies said: “The Welsh Labour Government and the then UK Labour Government made a significant investment on the future of our young people, and it’s crucial that the current UK Government plays their part as these young people make plans for their future.”

“Many people won’t know that they have these accounts because the Conservative UK Government hasn’t promoted them. I’m urging all young people who turn 18 in September to check their funds. If you’d like more information or help on how to access these funds, please get in touch with my office or visit: https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds.”

“These funds offer an opportunity for young people to re-invest and save further or cover immediate costs, at 18 years of age they face some of their most important life decisions. They should face no barrier in accessing the savings that they’re entitled to.”

The Welsh Labour Government opposed the abolition of the scheme in 2011 and has accused the Tories of undermining the scheme by not promoting savings that risk going unclaimed when young people turn 18.

Finance Minister Rebecca Evans has written to the UK Treasury demanding all young people in Wales are linked to their accounts.  She said: “The funds committed by previous UK and Welsh Labour governments were investment in our children’s future. Whether young people choose to re-invest that money and save for the future or use it to meet immediate costs to help with their next steps at this pivotal age, they should face no barriers to accessing these savings.”

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