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John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, outlines how working families on benefits and tax credits can earn 50p for every £1 with a new Government-backed saving plan.
January is the time for making resolutions about your finances – time to sort out bills, banking and savings. The government’s Help to Save scheme rewards savers with an extra 50p for every £1 saved which could put a bonus up to £1,200 in your pocket.
It’s available to working people on tax credits and universal credit and was launched in autumn 2018. It’s a new type of savings account specially designed for workers on lower incomes. Around 3.5 million people are likely to be eligible.
It’s pretty simple. You can save between £1 and £50 each calendar month for four years into the Help to Save account, though you don’t have to save every month. It’s not locked away, so you can make withdrawals if you need to.
At the end of the first two years, you’ll get the first 50 per cent bonus – up to £600 tax free. You can then continue saving up to £50 every month, and get another bonus paid at the end of the four years if you pay in the maximum amount.
There are a couple of key points about the bonus:
The bonus for the first two years is paid on the highest balance you had in the account during the two years. So if you reach £1,000 but then have to withdraw £200 before the two years are up, you’d still get a £500 bonus, as that’s 50 per cent of your highest balance of £1,000.
The final bonus after four years is worked out by deducting your highest balance from the first two years from your highest balance in the final two years. So if your highest balance was £1,000 in the first two years, you’ll get a £500 bonus. If, after a further two years, your highest balance reaches £2,200, you’d get a further bonus of £600.
Savings, of course, should not be a luxury but an essential part of planning for the future. For some, putting away a tenner each month can be difficult but it’s a good habit to try to get into. So whether you’re saving up to take the family on a much-needed holiday, or to take the next step in life, Help to Save is designed to make saving possible for every hardworking person in this country.
10 Top Tips about Help to Save
1. Help to Save gives you a 50% bonus on your savings. So you can earn 50p for every £1 you save, and get bonuses worth up to £1,200.
2. Help to Save is available for working people who are eligible for working tax credits or Universal Credit – to check if you’re eligible go to www.gov.uk/helptosave
3. Opening an online account takes on average less than 5 minutes.
4. Paying in is easy – You can set up a standing order to make regular payments into your Help to Save account on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis to fit the way that you manage your money. You can also make one-off payments by debit card online. Payments, including standing orders, need to arrive in your account before the last working day of the month in order to be credited for that month – don’t get caught out by weekends and public holidays.
5. You can withdraw money at any time from your account if you need to – but it can affect the maximum bonus you can earn.
6. You can continue to receive tax credits or Universal Credit while saving with Help to Save.
7. If your situation changes and you stop receiving Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit, you can still save and receive any bonus you are entitled to.
8. Help to Save is backed by the government which means the money you save is secure.
9. Help to Save accounts will be available to open from 12 September 2018 and up to September 2023.
10. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can still get an account. Call 0300 322 7093 and helpline advisers will help you get set up.