BBC BLOGS - Betsan's Blog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Happy Birthday

Betsan Powys | 13:01 UK time, Monday, 23 March 2009

So happy birthday then, son.

A bit of a mixed bag this year. Wales lost on Saturday. Mind you, you the Irish deserved their win and at least Stephen Jones and his boot gave your Dad a chance to teach you a valuable lesson about how you must deserve your victories. Not sure how much of it sank in but he tried.

The other bit of bad news is that you're worth less than you were when you were born. No, hang on, let me try again. You, of course, are invaluable but that baby bond the government gave you is worth less than when you were born.

It was the Chancellor, Gordon Brown's gift to you. He gave you £256 to invest in a Child Trust Fund. It will mature when you're 18 and by then, he was really hoping you'd spend the money, the "several thousand pounds" it would be worth by then according to Prime Minister Tony Blair, on your education or as a deposit on a house.

You've a long, long way to go but the bad news is that your £256 is now worth £198.55. I know. The nest-egg is looking a bit brittle. You'd better start hoping, son, that the economy and the stock market are in a better shape in March 2023 than they are now.

The woman at the other end of the line sounded rather guilty when I told her it was your birthday but as she pointed out, you're not alone. There'll be another 699,999 children born in the same year as you - every year since September 2002 in fact - whose cash windfall will be shrivelling at the moment and let's face it, most of them will be considerably worse off than you are.

And by the way, if you thought being born in Wales would have added £50 to the pot, forget it. Yes, I know Rhodri Morgan and Labour pledged to give you an extra £50 on top of the £250 you were already getting if they were still in power in Wales after the Assembly election. As it so happens, I was in the playground in Cardiff North when Gordon Brown shared his delight with the news that "every child" in Wales would get the extra money. He was well on his way to becoming Prime Minister by then and this was, he said, a sign of "healthy diversity" between the nations of the UK.

Yes, that's right, Labour are still in power and in the One Wales Agreement they struck with Plaid Cymru they pledged to "implement an extra Children's Bond for all children entering school". If you look here in the One Wales Delivery Plan you'll see that the idea isn't dead. It just hasn't happened yet. The plan is still that you, along with every child in Wales gets £50 to invest when you start school and that children living in low income households get another £50 on top. Why hasn't it happened? Because the people who must work out how to divvy up the money are still working on it. They've promised to work it out by 2009 though, so perhaps you'd better start watching this space.

Sorry. Didn't mean to cast a pall over your birthday and as I say, you're in a far, far better position than many other four year olds who were opening presents this weekend. There would be plenty who'd tell you that your Dad's lecture about deserving wins on the rugby pitch apply equally to winnings and windfalls and that you and your family were lucky to get a nest egg at all.

I'll tell you about Logan, Seren, Ioan, Jasmine, Rhys and Cerys before the end of the week - children from a family up in Perthcelyn who've opened their doors to us again, just as they did nearly ten years ago and I'll tell you why all of this matters rather more to them than it does to you: a lot more. Their childhood in Wales will open your eyes. It certainly opened mine.

In the meantime, enjoy your presents. You certainly deserved those.


or register to comment.

  • 1. At 4:04pm on 23 Mar 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    Happy Birthday to the person and/or others mentioned in the blog....

    ~Dennis Junior~

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 5:07pm on 23 Mar 2009, Ty Du wrote:

    Happy birthday, Powys junior. It's a bit young to learn that 'the value of shares may go down as well as up' but that's capitalism for you. I'd ask your Mam why it wasn't in a nice, safe building society account - might not be great returns, but at least you don't lose your money.

    Never mind, you might grow up to be a banker, then if you lose money you can always get it back again from the government. What was that about 'deserving the win'?

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 6:36pm on 23 Mar 2009, John Henry wrote:

    The money would have been better spent improving the education of the children, that's all the money not just the unjustifiable top-up by Brown and Cardiff Bay chums.

    It is time for fiscal fisticuffs, time to shame our politicians to give the residents of Perthcelyn and other deprived areas a leg up, not the better off, we can afford to fund our children's future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 10:54pm on 23 Mar 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Dad and Mam promised to put 10 bob a month into my college fund when I was born.......I get to 18 and Norwich Union send me a cheque for 50p....the resolution lasted precisely one month.....lesson is don't rely on your parents !!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 10:02am on 24 Mar 2009, Datganoli wrote:

    Shouldn't his parents have topped up the trust fund by now? You can put in £1,200 a year, I'm told. He'll be asking tough questions if you don't.....

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 11:16am on 24 Mar 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    "Penblwydd Hapus".

    You should teach your mum, next time you are down the park, about the swings and those roundabouts...

    If you had been born later, your Child Trust Fund would not have gone down so much.

    But your share of the national debt when you were born would have moved from about £14, 000 to over £ 20, 000.

    But never mind, you can hand on that debt to your children, once we've handed ours on to you...

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 2:05pm on 24 Mar 2009, BLUESNIK wrote:

    First they bribe and seduce the puzzled pensioners with free (semi-hard) drugs and free sandy-bay bus passes to exotic Sully...then they bribe the political junkies with offers of free veg curries to listen to the "radical" rant of the crazed Convention mongers ...


    Have these evil Devo monsters NO SHAME?

    Text now! Voice your anger!

    Breaking Shock News!

    Welsh MP claims £500K for shoe laces..."Essential for my job", says Dai Druid MP...And his WIFE claims the SAME!!!

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.