Commission calls for rethink on unclaimed assets plans

The Commission on Unclaimed Assets last week called for the Government to rethink its proposal to use money in dormant bank accounts for project funding in local communities.

The call was made in a response to the Treasury's consultation, launched last month, on the distribution of unclaimed assets. The commission would like the money to be channelled into a social investment bank to finance the third sector.

Describing the release of unclaimed assets as "a lump of money followed by a trickle", Toby Eccles, secretary of the commission, told Third Sector: "This profile of money lends itself to investment. Revenue funding would not be sustainable."

The commission says project-based funding is an old-fashioned model. Eccles said: "This would be another form of supplier-decided funding. Recipients would again be told what to spend the money on and would not be able to build their organisations in a strategic way."

In response to the Treasury's suggestion that distribution of assets would be managed efficiently and minimum resources would be spent on running costs, Eccles said that a focus on low administration costs could potentially lead to "conservative or low-impact programmes".

The commission's final recommendation was that the Big Lottery Fund, which was identified by the Treasury as a possible assets distributor, "should be looking for a coalition of organisations that would bring the right combinations of finance and social expertise" to the development of a wholesale investment institution.

The deadline for submissions to the Treasury is 9 August.

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