Government consults on dormant assets scheme expansion

The government is planning a major expansion of the dormant assets scheme with the hope of raising millions of pounds for good causes.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport today launched a consultation about expanding the scheme to include insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities.

Dormant assets are defined as those that are left untouched for 15 years or more and which cannot be reunited with their rightful owners. The rightful owners are entitled to come forward at any time to reclaim their assets. 

The DCMS’s announcement comes after the publication in 2017 of the findings of the Dormant Assets Commission, which estimated that a further £2bn in unclaimed assets could be made available for good causes.

A blueprint from four “industry champions” for how to expand the dormant assets scheme was published last year.

A number of charity sector bodies have called for funding from dormant assets to be invested in a Community Wealth Fund, which would help deprived communities.

Baroness Barran, the Minister for Civil Society, said: “The dormant assets scheme is making a real difference to people across the nation. This includes helping to tackle youth unemployment, addressing financial exclusion and growing the social investment market.

“That’s why we are now seeking views on expanding the scheme to include even more unclaimed assets in a way that continues to protect customers while potentially unlocking millions more pounds for good causes.”

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Through this scheme we have channelled hundreds of millions of pounds into causes to help those most in need.

“Today’s announcement builds on vital work by industry to broaden the scheme. By expanding it beyond bank accounts to include assets like insurance products, we will be able to unlock even more funds for worthy causes up and down the country.”

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