Boost for CTFs
Children suffering from disabilities will receive an additional £100 each year from the government to put into their child trust funds (CTFs) until they reach the age of 18, chancellor Alistair Darling announced in his Budget.
Children with severe disabilities will receive twice that amount. The government says it decided to offer this additional payment as “it recognises that disabled children are likely to have higher financial needs when they make the transition to adulthood”.
In another bid to eradicate child poverty, the government also announced in the 2009 Budget that, from April next year, the child element of the Child Tax Credit would increase by £20.
However, while family experts applauded the Budget announcements, many thought more help could have been offered.
John Reeve, chief executive of Family Investments, says: "We would have liked to have seen the government introduce more measures aimed directly at helping families. Unemployment and a low interest-rate environment are devastating the finances of families across all income groups and they are the ones really suffering from the financial and economic crisis."
He adds: “One of the primary aims of the CTF scheme has always been to provide financial help to those in society who need it most. The extra £100 a year for disabled children will give them an extra £2,900 when they turn 18 (£5,800 for severely disabled children), which is a massive boost to their funds and will be very important for their future."
But David White, chief executive for The Children’s Mutual, is more upbeat: “Making the transition into adult life is tough for every child and is especially challenging for disabled children and their families. An extra £100 a year paid into a CTF could mean more than an extra £3,000 at age 18 and for the severely disabled children £200 a year could mean more than £6,000 extra.”
Child tax credit
A scheme started in 2003 that sought to replace a raft of other tax credits and benefits, the payout depends on the number of dependant children in a family, and its level of income. The amount of credit is reduced as income increases. It is payable to the main carer of a child, usually the mother, and is available whether or not the recipient is working.