Christmas brings GBP£1.2bn1 of broken toys
More than a third (37 per cent) of Christmas toys and presents don’t make it past the end of January, according to research from leading Child Trust Fund provider, The Children’s Mutual. It found that a staggering £1.2bn is wasted each year, by family and friends buying gifts that get broken or discarded long before we give up on our New Year’s resolutions.
According to its research, excluding those from their immediate family, children wake up on Christmas morning to find an average of 16 presents wrapped up under the tree and £76 in cash – with a total of £316 spent per child in the UK. The Children’s Mutual is urging friends and family to think about saving some of that money into long-term savings to deliver a Christmas gift that could last a lifetime.
David White, Chief Executive of The Children’s Mutual, said: “At Christmas time, youngsters benefit from huge generosity from friends and family but if just a little was saved every year, it could grow into a far bigger present on their 18th birthday. We have calculated that if the average amount of cash given each year was saved into a Child Trust Fund account, it could bolster their savings pot by £2340 excluding any government contributions.”
And according to the data, some families are already catching onto this new Christmas gift trend. The Children’s Mutual recorded a 75 per cent uplift in lump sum payments around Christmas last year. The research supported this showing a fifth (19 per cent) of parents put all of the money their children receive into saving accounts for the future, while four in 10 (40 per cent) balance the demands of their children with thoughts of the future, by putting some into savings and letting their children spend the rest.
Mr White said: “According to our research, more than half (53 per cent) the toys given to children at Christmas do not last until Easter because they are broken or discarded for new favourites. By saving some Christmas money into a Child Trust Fund account, children could benefit from a present that lasts a lifetime.”
The most generous family and friends are from the East Midlands where more than a quarter (27 per cent) of children receives over £150 in cash for Christmas. Children in Scotland also have very generous family and friends with one in five (21 per cent) receiving over £150 in cash from family and friends over. Parents of children in London and Wales are more likely (over 25 per cent) to put all of the money their children receive into savings for the future.
There are four ways that families can top up a child’s CTF account with The Children’s Mutual. In each instance they should have the child’s name and account number to hand:
1 – Visit the newly launched online top up facility at www.thechildrensmutual.co.uk/topup to make a one-off payment with a debit card
2 – Call (lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm) to make a payment over the phone or set up/amend a Direct Debit
3 – Send a cheque payable to ‘The Children’s Mutual for the account of [child’s name]’ – writing the child’s URN account number on the back of the cheque and posting it to: Freepost RLRZ-ZAZZ-GACY, The Children’s Mutual, PO Box 2067, Gloucester GL4 3YU
4 – Make a standing order, electronic transfer or payments via your bank. Call for details.
Money paid into a CTF account can only be accessed by the child and only when they reach 18. Average number of children in the UK x the average amount presents are worth (see footnote 5 for workings out) / 37% 13.1m children in the UK (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1163) x £240 (average amount 16 presents is worth) = £3,144,000,000 / 37% = £1,163,280,000
 Commissioned by The Children’s Mutual, The Parenting Matters Report questioned 3043 parents with children aged 5-15 in March 2008.
 These projections are based on a £76 lump sum being invested annually for 18 years in a stakeholder CTF account excluding the Government’s contributions, with yearly growth at the FSA tax-exempt mid-rate of 7% and charges of 1.5% of the account’s value each year. These figures are not guaranteed, shares can go down as well as up and the eventual lump sum could be more or less than indicated.
 Based on ad hoc payments made into The Children’s Mutual CTF accounts in Jan 08 compared to the rest of the previous year.