In 2010, just a few weeks into its term, the Coalition government abolished Child Trust Funds, bringing to an abrupt end one of the world's very few universal asset-based welfare policies, and soon after cancelled the planned roll-out of the Saving Gateway scheme. This report reviews the development of both policies, their successes and limitations, and the political and policy reasons for their sudden demise.

The Child Trust Fund and Saving Gateway were rare examples of 'asset-based welfare' policies. Designed and implemented by central government, these policies offered opportunities for families to build assets that had never existed before. Universal and progressive in provision, the Child Trust Fund was unique and meant that every child in the UK would have an asset from birth.

The need for an assets agenda has not disappeared; arguably, it has only strengthened. This report argues that the primary reason for the cessation of both schemes was that the assets policy agenda itself was built on foundations that were too narrow. There was a perception that there were no direct losers from either decision, the Labour government never fully integrated asset-based welfare into their thinking, and there was little support for the programme outside a discreet, relatively small group of policymakers. Other reasons, such as the present government's approach to spending cuts and a lack of endorsement from the Liberal Democrats, also contributed to the policy's demise. Long-term policies, like Child Trust Funds, require wide and diverse support from the public and from policymakers to survive political change - this simply did not exist.