Finance: Share unclaimed assets across UK, say the Scots

An organisation that provides loan finance for voluntary groups in Scotland has written to the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, demanding that unclaimed assets from Scottish accounts should be spent on projects in Scotland.

Social Investment Scotland was responding to a proposal by the Treasury-backed Commission on Unclaimed Assets that the estimated £400m of funds in dormant bank accounts should be channelled into a social investment bank for use in disadvantaged communities across the UK.

"The commission is organising a new institution when we already have similar organisations in place," said Ray Perman, chairman of SIS. "It doesn't make sense to go about creating a bureaucracy that will slow things down and add cost.

"It would be fairer if this money was allocated on a regional basis rather than centrally.

"If the funds are going to be applied to community projects, it makes no sense to hold the money in London, where they can't see the areas of need."

Perman said SIS should distribute Scotland's share of the assets, which should be calculated as a "percentage based on population share".

A spokesman for the Commission on Unclaimed Assets said: "This money is coming from the overall population, so it should be widely distributed between the regional projects where the best opportunities are."

- See Letters, page 11.

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