Thursday, February 08, 2007

Child Trust Fund advertising didn't work. So why spend more?

One of Gordon Brown's big policies in the past few years has been the "Child Trust Fund". Now personally, I think conceptually this is actually not that bad an idea. Practically though the funds are so restrictive when it comes to how much people can put in them many people end up setting other accounts anyway.

Uptake of the account hasn't actually been that bad either all things considered. Essentially, between 74% and 76% of all vouchers issued are used to open a fund, and, at the beginning, this was done with pretty much no advertising at all. It was 74% in 2002-03, and jumped to 76% in 2003-04.

In 2004-05 the Treasury decided it would start advertising the funds, and, if you watch a bit of TV you will probably remember the TV adverts, not to mention billboard, radio and press. In that first year of advertising, the total media spend was £3.2m. The uptake impact? A fall of 1% to 75%.

It's obvious what is coming next I imagine, but instead of seeing that the uptake actually went down even when mass advertising was used, HMRC decided instead to spend even more on advertising. So, in 2005-06 they spent £4.9m instead.

The results? All they'll say is that, "[s]ince April 06 accounts have been opened in the majority of these cases". Funny that!


Anonymous said...

You would have thought that this collection of buffoons would at least have been good at giving money away. After all, it's what socialists are supposed to be good at.

James Higham said...

The advertising appears to be to paper up the cracks. The greater the fissures, the more the spin.

The Hitch said...

Why the fuck is it a good idea to give some of my money to some inbred fuckwit on his/her 18th birthday?

dizzy said...

It encourages saving for a start. In perspective it's equivalent to an extra 2.6p a month on Child Benefit. It's sod all really. And I'm not against all forms of tax.

Anonymous said...

The scheme only started in 2005, hence that's when the marketing budget was spent. It was backdated so children born earlier could be included.