Darling's Budget makes Child Trust Funds child's play

13 March 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
In his Budget, Alistair Darling has tried to make it easier for children to benefit from a Child Trust Fund by changing the way they are administered.

He has removed the stipulation that parents must receive a voucher and deposit it themselves in order to open an account; from April 2009, it will be voluntary for parents to receive a voucher.

In his speech on Wednesday, Mr Darling lauded the Child Trust Fund scheme, which has thus far seen 2.4 million accounts opened he said, illustrating that many parents are "saving more for their children’s future."

Not everyone was as happy as the Chancellor, however. Matthew Carter, Nationwide building Society’s director of mortgage and savings, said that he was "disappointed" that "the Chancellor has not used the Budget to encourage parents, family and friends to save for children of all ages."

"We would like to have seen the Government announce a further contribution of £250 when a CTF child reaches the age of 11 and close the savings gap for children who do not qualify for a CTF, by increasing tax exemption thresholds for interest earned on children’s savings." he said.

Last month Nationwide commented on the latest figures from the HMRC which showed that a fifth of Child Trust Fund vouchers expire because parents fail to invest them within 12 months, and that of those which are opened, 60 per cent see no further activity.

This highlights that for children's futures it is "vital that parents are engaged about the importance of managing their finances and understanding the value of saving."

With the new regulations which are designed to simplify the process, the Chancellor hopes to see a significant increase in the number of parents that prepare for their child's future by opening a Child Trust Fund.

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