Futurebuilders fund sitting on £28m of repayments from charities

Cabinet Office undecided about how to spend the money paid back to the third sector lender that closed in 2010

Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office

More than £28m repaid by charities to the Futurebuilders England fund is being held in bank accounts while the Cabinet Office decides what to do with the money.

The Futurebuilders fund opened in 2005 to provide loans and grants to third sector organisations wanting to win public sector contracts. It closed in 2010, having agreed loans and grants worth £155m of its initial £215m budget.

All loans repaid since it opened are being held by the Social Investment Business, the delivery arm of the Adventure Capital Fund, which took over management of Futurebuilders England in 2008.

A spokeswoman for the SIB said it was holding all the repayments received so far, totalling £28.5m.

"The Futurebuilders England money is paid back to us and we hold it in current and deposit accounts," she said. "The Cabinet Office is still deciding what it would like to do with the funds."

The SIB had initially envisioned that, once it received sufficient repayments, it would reopen Futurebuilders and reinvest those repayments in the sector.

But the coalition administration, when it came to power, said repayments to the fund would not be used for new Futurebuilders lending to the sector.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said in 2010, while leader of the opposition, that the money would be used to fund the community organisers programme.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said: "Any returns from the Futurebuilders fund will be reinvested into building a bigger, stronger society. We will update further on our plans in due course."

She declined to give any further details about what the money would be spent on, or which department would be responsible for spending the money.

About £85m of further loans are still outstanding from the Futurebuilders fund.

Futurebuilders was initially announced as a £215m fund, but failure to hit annual targets meant that £31m was unspent and returned to the Treasury, while another £29m was spent on management fees.

About £155m of loans and grants were agreed with third sector organisations, not all of which have been drawn down.

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