Savings Accounts and Health in Pregnancy Grant Bill

Part of Parliament (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 26th October 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour, Walthamstow 8:45 pm, 26th October 2010

I am glad that the hon. Lady asks about an Opposition Member looking for evidence. If she listens to me, she will find that I can refer to many different research points that can bring out exactly that. It would be useful in these debates to move from the examples given to what the independent academic research tells us about what the child trust fund has done in increasing savings in this country. I direct her to the work being done by the university of Bristol on this matter in particular.

As an MP in Walthamstow, I cannot help but see the impact of the Government's decision. The latest figures tell me that more than 10,000 families in Walthamstow have a child trust fund voucher-well above the national average for a constituency. Nationally, we know that 70,000 of these are issued each month, including the top-ups, at a cost of just £500 million to the taxpayer. It is a relatively small investment compared to some of the other mechanisms that we have, but we know that it is money well spent, because until they were stopped, child trust funds were the most successful Government savings scheme ever.

My hon. Friend Kate Green admirably set out the evidence that we have. It is worth repeating because of the questions being asked by Members on the Government Benches. Two million people were contributing to 4.5 million open accounts, resulting in more than £2 billion in assets, with £22 million in regular contributions. Critically, those are from families on less than £50,000 a year. In London that is not a high target rate to meet.

To get the full sense of what abolishing the scheme will mean, it is worth looking at the sums involved. Thanks to the Revenue's child trust fund calculator, I was able to do just that. It tells me that a child born on my birthday this year eligible for just that basic payment of £250 from the Government and whose family saves just £100 a year, which is not even a tenner a month, could get about £3,000 in 2028. If the family started saving £20 a month, the figure could rise to £8,000. At £4 a week, it would be nearly £10,000.