Headlines: May 5th, 2010

The Welsh Assembly Government relies heavily on asset-based welfare as part of its approach to tackling child poverty, but the policy is threatened by plans to change the national Child Trust Fund scheme following the general election. This is the conclusion of a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research. The report looks at the arguments for and against CTFs, and it explains why assets are an important way of providing a financial cushion for families in times of hardship.

It suggests that, if funding for the national CTF programme is cut and CTFs are restricted to the poorest one-third of families, the Welsh Assembly Government should not cut the funds allocated to the CTF Cymru. Instead, it should take the opportunity to strengthen its asset-based attack on child poverty in Wales.

The paper calls for specific measures designed to increase the number of parents opening CTFs, to ensure a high rate of uptake for CTF Cymru and to encourage more parents with low incomes to place additional funds in their children’s CTFs.

Tony Dolphin, ippr’s Senior Economist, said: “Research into asset-based welfare policies clearly demonstrates that asset ownership improves family well-being. The Child Trust Fund should be seen as part of a long-term strategy to encourage and increase asset ownership in the UK.