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Home > Opinion > FTAdviser Blog > Emma Ann Hughes's blogs


Supernanny-style lessons on Junior Isas

You don’t have to watch Jeremy Kyle to know it is a bad idea to treat one of your children differently from the other.

By Emma Ann Hughes | Published Mar 07, 2012 | comments

My grandfather, even in his late eighties, never forgot that his older brother had violin lessons.

On questioning from my mother, it was quite clear he had the same amount of cash offered to him for extra curricular activities but he blew that on sweets.

This didn’t matter to him: he still felt he had been treated differently. Uncle Bob could play an instrument whereas he just had the dim and distant memory of boiled sweets. It was unfair.

How would he have felt at 18-years-old when he found out his older brother had a child trust fund while he had a Junior Isa?

Surely unless you put your children into exactly the same investment or savings vehicle and put the same amount of regular cash contributions in, it is inevitable that the financial outcome will be different.

My 20-month-old daughter, Evangeline, was one of the last children to receive a £250 cheque from the UK taxpayer that we had to plough into a child trust fund.

I have no issue with the fact that in this time of tight belts the government could not continue with this scheme. I accepted that I would have to match the taxpayer’s £250 and put this into an investment vehicle for any subsequent children in order to make sure they weren’t worse off.

However, what I am going to moan about is why has the government put rules in place that dictate Evangeline only has the option to stick in a CTF and a children’s savings account until she turns 18.

She is barred from a Junior Isa because of this government’s set of rules – unlike any subsequent child. Where is the fairness in that?

The mantra of Supernanny, et al, is set the same rules and stick by them.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised that the government can’t set simple rules and stick to them - A-Day and pensions simplification immediately springs to mind.

I understand that privileges will change, but rules shouldn’t. They all might have chores and have set times to do homework, for example.

These might vary according to their ages, but basic rules don’t have to change.

How is it fair that while I may give them the same pocket money, they may get the same cash gifts from relatives, etc, yet these cash contributions will be treated differently because one was born in 2010 and another at a later date?

Of course things change. What might be true when you brought one child into the world might no longer be relevant even a few years later.

There are so many changes in technology, in safety concerns etc, that of course we must adapt the way we raise children of different ages.

But the fact my eldest daughter is stuck in a child trust fund and a children’s savings account paying a pitiful interest rate while another has the option of a Junior Isa, is just silly.

Come on Cameron and your cronies – sort it out.


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