Bill proposes use of dormant cash to fund youth services

The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill, published yesterday, proposes that money lying in dormant bank accounts in England will be used to fund youth services.

The bill also proposes that ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be free to choose on which causes to spend unclaimed assets in their provinces. If enough money is left over after youth services have been funded in England, it will be used to invest in financial capability and social projects.

“I am delighted that this legislation will enable unclaimed assets to be reinvested in society and will help the third sector contribute even more to our society, economy and environment,” said Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector.

It is proposed that banks enter the scheme on a voluntary basis after the Government decided not to legislate against institutions refusing to relinquish dormant accounts – defined as not having experienced any customer-initiated activity for 15 years.

Account holders would be able to reclaim their funds if the measure is passed, however. Assets would be pooled in a central reclaim fund regulated by the Financial Services Authority, which consumers would be able to approach to claim their funds back.

Resources from dormant accounts would be distributed to beneficiary organisations across the UK by the Big Lottery Fund.

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