Overwhelming support for Child Trust Fund campaign

4 mins read

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Tags: Child Trust Fund, learning disability, savings, mental capacity

We have been overwhelmed by everyone’s support to help disabled children access their own savings before it’s too late.

A huge thank you to over 1200 supporters who have taken action on the Child Trust Fund campaign writing to their MP to raise awareness and call for change.

Tens of thousands of disabled teenagers have a Child Trust Fund savings account, with the average account value estimated to be around £2,000. However, families of young people who are unable to manage their money as they lack mental capacity have to apply through the Court of Protection to access their savings. This is a lengthy, costly and complex undertaking.

We have been receiving your MP responses and will reply to those in the coming weeks. We will highlight our concerns about the government’s proposals to address the issue.

Government proposals won’t work for majority

Una Summerson, Head of Campaigns at Contact, said: “The government says it plans to digitise and streamline the Court of Protection process. But we are concerned this does not go far enough and that no timescales have been given. In addition most of the families we support do not want deputyship, which comes with added responsibility, cost and administration. That’s why we are calling on the government to give families an alternative way of accessing their savings.”

Parent campaigner Andrew Turner added: “There is already a tried and tested way for families to manage their child’s money – the DWP appointee scheme. Many parents are entrusted by this scheme to manage benefits in excess of the savings held in the Child Trust Fund account. That’s why it makes perfect sense to expand the scope of the scheme to cover Child Trust Funds and Junior ISAs.”

Savings lost each week

Andrew has today launched a lost benefit calculator to illustrate the amount of savings being lost each week as more and more Child Trust Fund accounts of young people with learning disabilities are locked. We hope it will act as an incentive to the government to act now before it’s too late.

Join the campaign and write to your MP today

Affected families

John Roberts, dad to Joseph aged 18, is still waiting for a response from his MP.

“Like many parents of children with learning disabilities who have turned 18, we are stuck with what to do with the Child Trust Fund we created when our son was born as part of the CTF initiative set up by Gordon Brown. 

“Joseph is unable to manage his own financial affairs and is therefore unable to gain access to the money in his CTF, which is held at HSBC. I understand that the only way to gain access to those funds is for either my wife or I to obtain financial deputyship on his behalf. This currently has an application cost of £371, plus £494 if the court decides the case needs a hearing. There is also an annual general supervision fee of £320 (reduced to £35 for minimal supervision), plus a £100 assessment fee for a new deputy. The process is complicated and we have been advised that it is better to apply with a lawyer, for which the lowest fee we have been quoted is £1600.

“For most people in our situation the complexity of this process is appalling and the cost totally prohibitive as it is likely most CTF’s will not contain sufficient funds to cover the above costs.

“My parents have been paying money into their grandchildren’s CTFs every year as a birthday present. Our daughter will be able to access those funds to pay for whatever she chooses when she turns 18 in three years time. Unfortunately, Joseph can’t, and currently no-one can access the funds unless we apply for deputyship. Joseph has no other assets and is unlikely to have any, other than his disability allowances (DLA/Mobility/PIP) during his life, so financial deputyship, and the on-going costs associated with it, will only ever be needed for this one transaction.

“Surely we can find a solution to ensure that we do not penalise our most vulnerable young people.”