In November 2021, the Ministry of Justice announced the launch of a Consultation around a new, streamlined process that would allow withdrawals and payments up to £2,500 from cash-based savings accounts including Child Trust Funds and Junior ISAs without the need to get permission from the Court of Protection.
The consultation closed in January 2022 and the original Spring date by which the results were due to be published, has long passed.
Last week, in the first update from the Ministry of Justice in many months, we (and other organisations and individuals involved with the Child Trust Fund Access campaign) received a notification that the outcome will now not be expected until the Autumn.
What does this mean for families and young people?
When the consultation was announced, we welcomed the news and although we expressed a number of concerns about aspects of the proposals not going far enough (in particular that the £2,500 limit was too low), we were hopeful that the proposed changes would help thousands of families access their disabled child’s savings without having to apply for a Court order.
The recent update is disappointing. The timeline for any change keeps shifting, and will be impacted by changes within government.
Philip Warford, Renaissance Legal’s Managing Director and founder of the Child Trust Fund Access campaign, explains:
“As a team, we can’t help but feel enormously disappointed and frustrated at this latest update and continued delays. There are thousands of children, some of whom have life-limiting conditions where the clock is quite literally ticking, who continue to be locked out of access to their matured Child Trust Funds.
There has been a dismally low number of successful applications to the Court of Protection, which is indicative of a process that it not fit for purpose. It’s estimated that almost 22,000 maturities remain unclaimed, and this simply is not right.
As a campaign team, we urge the Ministry of Justice to demonstrate a sense of urgency and respect for the families affected, adjust its timescales and tackle this issue so that families of disabled young adults can access money that has been saved for them”.
What can you do to help?
The Child Trust Fund Access online petition has in excess of 6300 signatures and has continued to grow steadily throughout the campaign. The petition is a key element of the campaign, demonstrating the number of families who are disadvantaged by the current system and who feel passionate that change is essential.
We still need to encourage all parents – not just those with a disabled child or who are directly impacted themselves – to pledge their support to the campaign as it helps apply continued pressure.
If you would like to sign the petition, you can do so here.
Write to your MP
Contacting your local MP is an excellent way of supporting the campaign. It is a good idea to write your own personal letter or email as it shows the strength of feeling you have about the campaign. Relaying personal experiences about the campaign and your family’s situation with regard to Child Trust Funds to your elected representative will help to illustrate the key issues.
You can find out how to contact your MP, and what you can expect in terms of response times, here. This website here is also an excellent resource for checking who your local MP is and how they have voted and where they stand on key issues.
Keep up to date
If you would like to read further updates about the Child Trust Fund campaign, you can do so here: https://www.renaissancelegal.co.uk/blog/category/blog/child-trust-fund-access/
Social media is an important channel, and the best way to keep up to date is on Twitter, and by following the #ChildTrustFundAcccess hashtag.