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Unclaimed Child Trust Fund figure could be close to £1.7bn

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The amount of cash languishing in forgotten but matured Child Trust Funds could be closer to £1.7bn, more than four times the initial estimate of £400m.

At a Commons committee meeting, Gavin Oldham of The Share Foundation which helps young people find these accounts, claimed the unclaimed figure is now around £1.7bn.

This is more than four times the £400m estimated by the National Audit Office in March this year, with 145,000 youngsters missing out on the cash, averaging £1,000.

As of April 2021, £800m of CTFs had matured at this stage, according to HMRC, meaning around half of the money had been successfully claimed. It is due to publish updated figures this summer.

Child Trust Funds explained

The first Child Trust Funds (CTFs) started to mature in September 2020, potentially giving teenagers a windfall on their 18th birthdays.

The Government gave families £250 (£500 for low-income families) for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, which they can access when they turn 18.

A total of £2bn was paid into CTFs for 6.3 million children, with parents given the option of choosing to invest the money or save it in cash.

However, there has been criticism around the lack of awareness and little engagement for parents and children which has resulted in lost and forgotten accounts. Now the focus is on reuniting young people with this cash.

Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown, said some providers could have done more to reunite holders to their accounts.

“CTFs have the power to make an enormous difference to vulnerable children, but they’ve been horribly let down. Those on lower incomes and those whose parents weren’t financially engaged when they received their voucher are likely to be among those who need it most. They’re the most likely to be completely in the dark,” she said.

Coles added that HMRC said CTFs “fell down the priority list”, but now has a number of initiatives to reunite young adults to their money, including sending tax ambassadors into schools to explain the scheme, and including information about CTFs when they send 16-year-olds their NI numbers.

“HMRC said it’s waiting for more data to decide whether more needs to be done, but these estimates indicate that efforts so far have been a drop in the ocean, and an awful lot of action is needed to reunite these young adults with money that’s rightfully theirs” she added.

How to track down your Child Trust Fund

You can go to the Child Trust Fund page on Gov.uk and fill in a form to trace the money, although you will need a Government gateway ID and password. If you don’t have this, you can set it up when you make your request to find the CTF.

An alternative way is to contact The Share Foundation, the provider of CTF and Junior ISA administration on behalf of the Department for Education for young people in care.

If you know the provider where the CTF is held, contact them directly.