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!