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Help 80,000 vulnerable teens unlock much-needed Child Trust Fund cash, MPs urge Government

Tens of thousands of young people with special educational needs and disabilities remain locked out of their savings held in Child Trust Funds – and the Government must do more to help them, a cross-party group of MPs have said. It comes as MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis once again raised the issue in an interview with Government minister Maria Caulfield MP on ITV's Good Morning Britain.

In a parliamentary debate held in Westminster Hall on Tuesday 19 March, Conservative MP Jeremy Quin highlighted the high costs and other obstacles parents and carers face when trying to access their vulnerable children's savings. He called on the Government to reduce the bureaucracy and unlock funds that "could make a real difference to [these] young people".

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey added: "I agree... To date, the Ministry of Justice has utterly failed to solve the problem, so we need action. We cannot wait much longer. The number of young people and their families, and the amount of money, will just build up over time."

Mr Davey, who has a disabled son who won't be able to access his fund due to the current processes, also commended campaigners including Martin for their work.

Martin Lewis: 'Is the Government going to pull its finger out and help these parents?'

On Wednesday 20 March (the day after the debate in parliament), Martin interviewed parliamentary under-secretary of state Maria Caulfield MP about the issue on ITV's Good Morning Britain – you can watch the full episode on ITVX.

Martin asked the minister when the Government was going to "pull its finger out" and help those affected.

Ms Caulfield replied that the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice "are picking up this issue", adding that it's a "priority area for the Government". But, she said, "it's very tricky to pin-point one solution".

Earlier this week, Martin tweeted that he was "very glad more light is being shined" on the problem:

The problem with access to Child Trust Funds 

Between 2002 and 2011, most children born in the UK were given £100s in a tax-free savings Child Trust Fund (CTF) by the state, which parents could then add more on top. The money was set to be accessible when the child turned 18 – giving everyone some cash to start their adult life.

Many with CTFs have now hit that age, but for 80,000 children in England and Wales with special educational needs or disabilities, their cash can't be accessed without a nightmare, costly, often unaffordable process for their parents. In many cases, accessing the fund can cost nearly £1,000, which can often outweigh the amount saved. MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis wrote a letter to the Government last year urging for change, but so far nothing has been done.

Read our Child Trust Funds guide for more information on how they work.

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