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Child Trust Fund

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the percentage take-up rate of child trust funds was in each year since the scheme’s inception; how many funds have had revenue allocated in each of those years; what plans he has to increase take-up; and if he will make a statement. (128414)

The latest set of Child Trust Fund account opening statistics showing the number of vouchers issued and accounts opened by parents was published on 4 January 2007 by HM Revenue and Customs at

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child trust funds/child-trust-funds.htm

The next set of statistics is due at the end of March.

To ensure that parents understand the choices available and to encourage them to open a Child Trust Fund account for their child, the Government will continue to run marketing activity and provide appropriate support to parents. Activities to date include the Child Trust Fund Week in January.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to increase the take-up of (a) child benefit and (b) child trust funds by use of the internet. (128415)

There is a high take-up of child benefit and I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend, the Paymaster General in her reply to the question from my right hon. Friend the Member for North Tyneside (Mr. Byers) on 7 March 2006, Official Report, column 1296W. The HMRC website already enables people to claim child benefit on-line, but to safeguard against fraud the claim cannot be wholly electronic. Parents must send the birth certificates for each child to the Child Benefit Office in order to validate their claim. Child Trust Fund vouchers are sent automatically to parents once child benefit has been awarded for a qualifying child.

The Child Trust Fund website www.childtrustfund,gov.uk contains useful information to encourage parents to use their Child Trust Fund voucher, including a step-by-step guide on how to open an account. This site also includes the functionality to ask for a replacement voucher over the internet if a parent has mislaid the original. In addition we provide Child Trust Fund advertising on key parenting websites and on search engines to direct people to the Child Trust Fund website and many Child Trust Fund providers allow online applications for Child Trust Fund accounts.