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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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LibDem threat to Child Trust Fund proposals

Friday, April 2, 2004

The Liberal Democrats want to take away your child’s money.  The Government is currently passing a law to give £250 to every child born after 1st September 2002. For less well-off children, it will be £500.  This measure is called the Child Trust Fund - a measure to give every child the best start in life.  Every Party in Parliament supports the Bill, except the Lib Dems.  They have consistently voted against it, and say it’s a “flawed initiative”. 

The Child Trust Fund was a 2001 manifesto commitment.  Its aim is to ensure that, in future, all children have a financial asset at the start of their adult life.  It should also encourage and develop a savings habit.  It will also encourage financial education and help people make better financial choices throughout their lives. 

All children born on or after 1st September 2002 will receive an initial payment of £250, rising to £500 for poorer children.  The Government will make a further payment when the child reaches 7 years.  Families and friends will be able to contribute up to £1200 a year between them to the fund.  The child will then be able to build up a financial asset for use at age 18.

This means, as a national average, in Sheffield, nearly 9000 children will be eligible when the Bill is passed.  By the time the policy comes into force, there will be 17,000 children who can receive it.  Over the course of the next Parliament, it is estimate that over 24,000 children in Sheffield will be eligible.[1]

This is an important and radical step.  We all know how difficult it can be to save and manage our finances.  The Child Trust Fund is an imaginative way of helping children and their parents save for the future, and to give all children a financial start in life.

Compare this to the Liberal Democrats reaction.  They would scrap it. They believe, in the words of their Treasury spokesman,

It is not good value for money. We shall vote against the proposals. 

All of this means that the thousands of children who would receive a solid financial start in life in Sheffield would go without under the Lib Dems.  The Lib Dems would refuse these kids a chance.  The Lib Dems would take hundreds of pounds off thousands of children in this

I think people will find it hard to understand why anyone would want to take this money away for local children.  This policy would mean that all 18 year olds would have a nest-egg to spend on a deposit for a house, a car, starting a new business - or whatever they choose

The Child Trust Fund is part of this Labour Government’s commitment to tackle child poverty head on.  The Chancellor has already announced an additional £1 billion a year for our children.  Despite the Liberal Democrats efforts to oppose it, I will work hard to build on that commitment, to make sure that in Sheffield, no child is left behind.

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