Child Trust Fund campaign success as government consults on new scheme
3 mins read
Tuesday 14 December 2021
The Government is proposing a new scheme to help families access funds belonging to loved ones who lack mental capacity, such as Child Trust Funds, without the need to go to court.
The new scheme is the result of a long campaign led by parent carer, Andrew Turner, who discovered problems when he tried to access his son Mikey’s Child Trust Fund. You can watch Andrew explain the problem on Channel 4 News. Here, he tells us more about the new scheme and why it’s is something to celebrate:
“After 14 months of campaigning on this issue it’s great to finally see a government commitment to fix this inequality, which means thousands of disabled young people and their families will be spared a daunting legal process just to access one low value savings account like a Child Trust Fund.
“The consultation on the introduction of a new Small Payments Scheme has the potential to build upon the process introduced a year ago by the finance industry. The extension of the scheme to a wider range of savings products is a welcome development that could benefit a larger group of people who need support with managing finance.
“I think the involvement of finance firms in the new process has the double benefit of offering a more familiar customer service experience to parent carers, as well as reducing the operational burden on government departments.”
Small Payments Scheme: something to celebrate
The current proposals in the consultation talk about introducing a threshold of up to £2,500 for a new Small Payments Scheme.
Andrew said: “My hope is that the government will consider raising this threshold to £5,000, which could benefit a wider group of people. This would be in line with the process currently being operated by the finance industry. Contact is supporting this higher threshold and if you agree please say this in your consultation response.
“The introduction of a new Small Payments Scheme is not about trying to remove protection for the vulnerable. It is about ensuring that the processes involved in protecting vulnerable people are proportionate to the circumstances and risk.”
“The incredibly low number of court applications for Child Trust Funds over the past year has shown that maintaining the high barrier of a long court process is denying disabled young people the benefits of their own savings. The introduction of a new Small Payments Scheme has the potential to liberate over £200m of savings for disabled young people with just the Child Trust Fund alone. That is something to celebrate.”
What happens after the consultation?
Andrew explained: “Once the government consultation closes in January, my hope is that we will see rapid action to introduce the new Small Payments Scheme as soon as possible.
“There is an important task ahead of communicating these changes to parent carers across the UK so that everyone understands that there’s now an easier way to help disabled people of all ages access and enjoy their savings.”
How to respond to the consultation
- Online: Mental Capacity Act: Small Payments Scheme – Ministry of Justice – Citizen Space
- Via email: MCAsmallpaymentsconsultation@justice.gov.uk
- By post: Vulnerability Policy Unit – Mental Capacity Policy; Ministry of Justice; Family and Criminal Justice Policy Directorate; Post point 7.25; 7th Floor, 102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ
Please send your response by 12 January 2022.