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VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Clean up the mess over missing child trust funds

VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Clean up the mess over missing child trust funds

If young adults ever needed a windfall, it’s now. Many have lost a year of education and are now facing a brutal jobs market.Even a modest sum could p

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If young adults ever needed a windfall, it’s now. Many have lost a year of education and are now facing a brutal jobs market.

Even a modest sum could provide a vital financial safety net – or, at the least, fund some much-deserved fun after lockdown.

So it is absurd that there are around 200,000 child trust funds – each containing an average of £2,000 – just gathering dust.

Missing millions: It is absurd to think that there are around 200,000 child trust funds ¿ each containing an average of £2,000 ¿ just gathering dust

Missing millions: It is absurd to think that there are around 200,000 child trust funds ¿ each containing an average of £2,000 ¿ just gathering dust

Missing millions: It is absurd to think that there are around 200,000 child trust funds – each containing an average of £2,000 – just gathering dust

And as more teenagers turn 18, this number will only increase.

Around 6.3 million of these accounts were opened for every child born between September 1, 2002 and January 2, 2011.

They were supposed to help families start a savings habit, with each child given up to £1,000 from the Government. But nearly a third of families didn’t bank the cheque, never mind top up the account.

If parents failed to act, the money was invested on the child’s behalf by HM Revenue & Customs.

Savings firms have attempted to track down youngsters over the years but many have moved home. Even if they receive the reminder, teenagers may have unknowingly binned the letter.

We must be more creative. Young people pick up most of their news on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook.

So perhaps the influencers promoting easy checkout credit could instead use their powers for good and urge young adults to seek out lost child trust fund cash. Schools, sports clubs and employers can also help raise awareness.

This money could make the world of difference to many young people, so we must do more to make sure they know it exists.

NHS injustice

The photograph in our story on practice nurses’ pensions illustrates the injustice they face perfectly.

Four friends, all trained nurses with four decades of service under the belts — but one with a much poorer pension and unable to retire as a result.

It has been nearly two years since Money Mail first exposed how loyal practice nurses were missing out on thousands of pounds in retirement after being excluded from the NHS pension scheme for more than a decade. 

Nurses such as Debbie McGinty have given as much to the NHS as other nurses and continue to put their health on the line every day to help protect others during the pandemic. So now let’s pay them the pensions they deserve.

Artificial stupidity

An online chat service is no substitute for a customer helpline. They can be useful if you have a simple request or don’t want to spend hours on hold. 

But, as we reveal today, they can also be infuriating – particularly when you don’t know if you are speaking to a real person.

When I tried to contact NowTV last month it was obvious the issue was too complicated to be dealt with via live chat. But that is the only option available — and, even then, it took me forever to find on the website.

After three attempts, I gave up. One conversation ‘timed out’ even though the handler was ‘typing’.

Providing a telephone number and email address that customers can contact should be a basic service requirement. Or at the very least, firms should arrange a call back if requested.

Sad reminder

AS much as I miss shopping on the High Street, it’s a relief to be spared the usual barrage of Mother’s Day promotions this year. But it doesn’t stop the deluge of emails — I’ve had six from Debenhams advertising ‘top gifts for Mum’ and it’s not even March.

Like so many people, for me this day is just one more reminder of a painful loss.

So it was comforting to receive a note from one firm offering customers the chance to opt out of Mother’s Day-related emails.

Flower delivery company Bloom & Wild, said: ‘We know how tough getting Mother’s Day reminders can be for some people. And we want to make sure you don’t get any upsetting surprises when shopping.’ How thoughtful.

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This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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