Help to Save
The Help to Save scheme is a Government initiative which is designed to encourage those on low incomes to save. Over 4 years, regular savers can deposit up to £50 a month and could receive up to £1,200 in tax-free bonuses.
Who can benefit?
The Help to Save scheme is only open to those meeting the eligibility criteria. Savers will qualify if they are a UK resident and entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit Payments, or claiming Universal Credit and have household or individual income of at least £542.88 for their last monthly assessment period. The scheme is also open to Crown servants and their spouse or civil partner, and members of the British Armed Forces and their spouse or civil partner if they meet these criteria, but live abroad.
Nature of the scheme
Under the Help to Save scheme savers are able to save up to £50 each month. At the end of two years, the saver will receive a government bonus based on the highest balance achieved of 50% of the amount saved. Savers who carry on saving will receive a further bonus after another two years, of 50% of their additional savings in that period. The maximum bonus is £1,200 payable to someone who saves £50 per month for four years.
Savings can be made in an online account available through Gov.uk.
Tim is eligible for a Help to Save scheme, which he opens on 1 November 2018. He saves £50 into the scheme. On 31 October 2020, he has £1,200 in his account. He receives a tax-free bonus of £600 (being 50% of this amount). Tim continues to save £50 per month for a further two years, saving an additional £1,200 in this period. On 31 October 2022 he receives a further bonus of £600 (being 50% of his savings in the two-year period from 1 November 2020 to 31 October 2022). At the end of the four-year period, the balance on his account is £3,600 (plus any interest earned on the account).
This comprises £2,400 saved by Tim (£50 per month for 48 months) and tax-free bonuses of £1,200 (£600 in 2020 and £600 in 2022).
A trial for the scheme started in January 2018 and the intention is that it will be available generally to eligible savers from October 2018.