Consumer: Families are missing out on financial help

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More than half of families in Leeds could be missing out on hundreds of pounds in financial support.

New research by OneFamily has shown that 56 per cent of those who could be eligible are not taking advantage of a number of savings incentives and tax credits offered to families by the government.

Almost a fifth (19 per cent) of those questioned think they could be eligible for junior ISAs, yet only four per cent are using the product. Thirty one per cent could be eligible for the help to buy scheme – but less than one per cent have signed up for it. Government savings policies such as the marriage tax allowance, childcare vouchers and child tax credit are also being underused by Leeds families.

Simon Markey, chief executive of OneFamily, said: “We know that families are under increasing financial pressure, with almost half of adults having to provide family members with financial support just to help them cover simple general living costs. A quarter of people would like to be able to give their families more financial support than they already do, yet our research has shown that they aren’t making the most of the potential savings already on offer, because they simply aren’t aware that they could benefit.”

The research showed that only 15 per cent of people surveyed across the country had heard of the widowed parent’s allowance and just four per cent knew about class three national insurance credits. 48 per cent of people knew about childcare vouchers while only 44 per cent were aware they could get free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

UK families could be £3.8bn a year better off if all parents who think that they are eligible for free childcare but are not claiming it received the maximum level of support available. The marriage tax allowance could save families £212 a year while the maximum widowed parent’s allowance is £112 a week. Grandparents and other family members could also claim national insurance credits using the specified adult childcare credits scheme if they are looking after a relative’s child under the age of 12. Just six per cent of grandparents surveyed had heard of the credits, with less than one per cent claiming the support.

Mr Markey said: “We’d encourage families, parents and grandparents to check whether they are eligible for the kinds of savings we’ve looked into. Individual families could be hundreds of pounds better off each year as a result.”

One Family - a merger between Family Investments and Engage Mutual - provides financial solutions for families.

Visit onefamily.com for more information on the eligibility criteria for the various financial savings as well as details of how to apply.

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES OUTLINED

The marriage tax allowance lets you transfer £1,060 of your personal allowance to your partner providing you earn less than £10,060.

The specified adult childcare credits scheme is for grandparents and other families members who look after a relative’s child. The carer can claim national insurance credits.

A Junior ISA is a tax free savings account for under 18s.

The help to buy scheme allows buyers to get a mortgage with just five per cent deposit.

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