Ministers' relief as Halifax Bank of Scotland offers junior ISA

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The Independent Online

Three weeks after the launch of junior individual savings accounts, Britain's biggest high street banking name, Lloyds, is finally getting in on the act.

Halifax Bank of Scotland – part of Lloyds Banking Group – is to offer an equity-based junior ISA account. The account will allow investors to put away up to £3,600 a year for a child under 18 and enjoy tax-free growth. Money in the Halifax Bank of Scotland account will be invested in shares and will accrue an annual management charge of 1 per cent; accounts can be started with as little as £20.

Simon Kenyon, the Bank of Scotland's savings and investment director, said: "We're proud to be able to support the decision to extend tax-efficient savings for children. This will give families the opportunity to put money aside and know that their child will have access to the investment when they need it."

The news of Halifax Bank of Scotland's entry into the market will be a relief to the Government. It launched junior ISAs on 1 November but will have been disappointed that the new savings vehicle, which is designed as a replacement for child trust funds, has been pretty low key with only a handful of providers – most of them small building societies – offering a junior ISA.

Last month, an Independent on Sunday investigation found that most of the major players in would be waiting until the new year at the earliest before launching junior ISA accounts. A Lloyds spokesperson said that although Halifax Bank of Scotland was launching its ISA, the main Lloyds brand would not be offering an account until 2012.

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