Petition calls to merge JISAs and CTFs
A petition is calling to merge child trust funds (CTFs) and junior individual savings accounts (JISA). The move would allow holders of existing CTFs - which pay lowly interest rates - to take advantage of the more competitive JISAs.
An estimated five million children will be ineligible to open a JISA because they were born between 2002 and 2011 - when existing CTFs were the savings product of choice for children due to their tax-efficient status.
The e-petition says these children are being "subjected to a form of discrimination, which affects their human rights" because they will be the only British citizens not allowed to open an ISA.
The petition adds that CTFs have a poor track record and are likely to fare even worse in the future given that CTFs are now closed to new business. To put this into context, Nationwide's newly launched cash JISA pays 3% interest compared to its cash CTF, which pays 1.10%.
The petition argues this "gives negative messages about saving to the millions of parents and grandparents who, in many cases, will have struggled to put this money aside for a child's future".
Allowing CTF-holders access to JISAs is the best way to keep things simple, argues Andrew Hagger, spokesperson for comparison service Moneynet: "You would have thought the government would have allowed access to JISAs to all from the start – just so that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet."
To view or sign the petition, go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/7468. The petition is open until August 2012.
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.