'No help' for charities with cash in Iceland

Minister indicates those who lost money in banking collapse are unlikely to receive financial assistance from government

Charities that lost money in last year's Icelandic banking collapse are unlikely to receive any financial help from the Government, a group of affected organisations has warned.

The Save our Savings coalition is a group of 30 charities that between them lost £50m in Iceland. Khalid Aziz, chair of children's hospice Naomi House, was part of a delegation from the coalition that met third sector minister Kevin Brennan in early February to discuss the losses.

After the meeting, Brennan wrote to Aziz to say the Government could offer no direct financial assistance to Naomi House, based in Hampshire. It had £5.7m in the UK division of Icelandic bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

Aziz, who acts as a spokesman for the coalition, said: "I take that statement to apply to everyone in Save our Savings. You could argue that if a children's hospice doesn't get anything, no one else will."

In the letter, Brennan said the Government could not "target individual organisations for support".

Naomi House's money in Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander is frozen. The bank was placed in administration in October 2008. The charity says the administration process is likely to take years to complete.

Aziz said: "We are shocked that the minister has not been able to negotiate a satisfactory outcome to our predicament."

Because of its frozen savings, he said, the charity had been forced to suspend its Hospice at Home service and there would be delays in opening all the beds in its new hospice for young people.

In a statement, the Cabinet Office said: "The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely while receivers continue the proper process, which is likely to return a significant proportion of the lost money to investors.

In the meantime we are working with local public services to ensure that children in the region get the care they need."

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