You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
The last Labour Government aimed to spread power and opportunity to all, to ensure that the next generation were not held back by their background.
That is why, in 2004, Labour launched the Child Trust Fund (CTF) scheme. This bold policy ensured that every child would have access to savings at the start of their adult life, no matter their background. For every young person born after the 1st September 2002, Labour invested at least £250 in a fund, from which only that young person can draw money.
This month, the first generation to benefit from CTFs turn 18, and can access this fund for the first time. Over the next 9 years, 50,000 young people across the country each month will come of age and be able to access their fund.
In Washington and Sunderland West, 8,700 young people have a CTF and will see the difference a Labour Government can make to their lives.
The contrast with the Tories’ mishandling of young people’s futures couldn’t be clearer. Students have faced a summer of chaos following the Government’s A-Level results fiasco, which follows a series of failures for young people, be it on school funding, university fees, or public health.
In fact, it was the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government which scrapped the innovative CTF scheme in 2011.
Given the time that has passed since the CTF scheme was launched and now with the significant impact of the pandemic, I am worried that many 18-year olds and their parents may be unaware, or have forgotten, that an account exists for them. I don’t want any young person to miss out on money that is rightfully theirs.
To find out more about this scheme, or to find your fund, visit https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds/
If you know anyone who is about to turn 18, make sure that they’re aware that they have money that is theirs to manage.
Every trust fund, and every choice it enables, is a reminder of the difference a Labour government can make. Today’s young adults will be the beneficiaries of Labour’s determination to make lives better and society fairer.