Child Trust Funds (CTF) contributions are at their highest levels ever, with monthly subscriptions at almost £15 million and one off payments topping £105 million. The scheme entitles children born on or after 1 September 2002 to a £250 voucher (£500 for low income families), followed by the same sum on the child's seventh birthday. Parents are encouraged to add to the funds in a bid to give their children the best financial start in life. Between 16 December last year and 15 March 2009, the number of CTFs being topped up by direct debits grew to almost 590,000. Average monthly subscriptions also rose to an average of £25.18, up £3.08 on the previous quarter, according to the Tax Incentivised Savings Association. Irregular lump sum contributions totalled £13 million in the latest quarter, taking the total since the scheme started to over £105 million. Tony Vine-Lott, director general of the association, said that to set record levels for contributions in all key areas in the current climate was evidence of the continuing success story of CTFs. "It is a testament to parents' desire to give their children the best possible financial start when they reach age 18," he added. Accounts are automatically opened by the Government if parents fail to open one within 12 months of receiving the voucher. However, opening an account became easier earlier this month as parents can now activate a CTF by phone or online. Previously, parents had to provide a paper voucher to a lender.
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