Secondary school starters will receive a cash bonus this week as part of a scheme to discourage youngsters from following their parents into the debt trap.
The launch of Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Credit Union’s new Junior Saver Account means all new Year 7s are now eligible to receive a free £10 when they sign up for the account which is designed to encourage young people to begin to save money and learn about financial responsibility and control from an early age.
The measure is a financial first in England and mirrors a scheme in Glasgow which has proved hugely popular with as many as 80 per cent of school starters signing up there.
The idea for the account comes in response to the Government’s Money Advice Service’s alarming statistics which say that almost 30 per cent of people in the resort are in debt.
Coun Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, has now written to all eligible families, through the schools, to back the idea and encourage people to sign up and claim their account – and £10 bonus.
He said: “A lot of thought, effort and planning has been put in to launching this account which is a direct response to the problem of debt we face in the resort.
“What we want to do is tackle the problem from an early age to try to ensure young people understand how to be financially responsible.
“This, combined with the introduction of the teaching of financial education within the national curriculum, should make a huge difference.
“We have to incentivise people to take part and what better way than to provide a welcome bonus of £10.
“Our challenge to these young people now is to make that £10 grow into a significant pot of money that they can put towards a first car, funding further education once they finish school or something else that will make a real difference to their life.”
Around 1,400 pupils – all those who start Year Seven at a Blackpool secondary school in September – are eligible for the scheme which is expected to cost around £30,000 annually.
Mike Barry, from the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Credit Union, added: “We’re very proud to be able to offer the account and we hope it will help the young people of Blackpool in the years to come.
“This is a revolutionary concept which offers a real opportunity for young people in Blackpool to take the initiative and start off good habits which will last them a lifetime.”
The young savers will be able to get money advice.
All Year 7s are provided with a form with the letter and terms and conditions are set out for savers when they sign up.
Parents/guardians must co-sign to grant permission for the account to open and children are able to make regular deposits.
The account is a savings account and not a current account and withdrawals can only be made twice a year.