HUNDREDS of thousands of teenagers in the North West are set to get access to a cash pot which has been waiting for them since they were young ­— and which many may not even know exists.

Since 2002, around 6.3 million Child Trust Fund (CTF) accounts have been set up.

These were originally created for children born between September 1, 2002, and January 2 ,2011, with a live Child Benefit claim.

The aimed to encourage positive financial habits and a saving culture among the young account holders.

Roughly 4.5 million were established by parents or guardians and a further 1.8 million by HMRC.

Across the region there are approximately 672,000 CTF accounts.

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

Accessing a CTF cash pot

From next month the oldest children who are part of the scheme will be able to access the money saved for them, as they turn 18.

Around 55,000 accounts will mature each month and to help young people find out where their account is held HMRC has created an online tool.

Parents and guardians who are unsure of where their child’s CTF account is held can also use the tool.

Non-digital routes to finding a CTF provider, for those who do not have the identifying information required to access the tool, will also be available upon request.

HMRC will send details of the CTF provider by post within three weeks of receiving a request.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “We want to make sure all young people can access the money which has been set aside for them, to invest in their future and continue a savings habit, as they turn 18.

“If you’re unsure if you have an account or where it may be, it’s easy to track down your provider online.”

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

How do Child Trust Funds Work

Parents and guardians of eligible children received a voucher to deposit in a CTF account on behalf of the child.

At 16 years, the child can choose to operate their account or have their parent continue to operate it, but they cannot withdraw the funds.

At 18 years of age, the CTF account matures and the child is able to withdraw money from the fund or move it to a different savings account.

The accounts are not held by HMRC, but by a number of CTF providers who are financial services firms.

Anyone can pay into the account, with an annual limit of £9,000 and there’s no tax to pay on the CTF savings interest or profit.

For more information visit www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds.