A Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a long-term savings or investment account for children in the United Kingdom.
New accounts cannot be created but existing accounts can receive new money: CTF new accounts were stopped in 2011 and replaced by Junior ISAs.
If the CTF is withdrawn as cash, the tax benefits will be permanently lost.
If vouchers were not invested within one year of issue, HM Revenue and Customs would open a stakeholder account on behalf of the child.
The UK Government introduced the Child Trust Fund with the aim of ensuring every child has savings at the age of 18, helping children get into the habit of saving whilst teaching them the benefits of saving and helping them understand personal finance.
The Child Trust Fund scheme was promised in the Labour Party's 2001 election manifesto Eligible children received an initial subscription from the government in the form of a voucher for at least £250.
Subscriptions by individuals were in addition to any voucher subscriptions.
Parents and other family members or friends can pay £3,600 a year into their child’s fund from 1 November 2011, previously £1,200.
According to the Children's Mutual, "In terms of changing people's behaviour, this is the most successful product there's ever been." For households with income of £19,000 a year, 30% of the children in that category are having £19 a month saved for them.
Part of this is due to grandparents being more willing to contribute to funds, since the money cannot be diverted to the family finances.
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At this point, the child will have the option to take over management of the account including choice of provider and investment decisions.