Lords bid to boost social investment

Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers are planning an amendment to the Government's bill on the use of dormant assets that would see funding divided equally between the proposed Social Investment Bank, which would fund voluntary groups, and the funding of youth facilities.

As the bill stands, youth services are listed as the first recipient of the estimated £350m of unclaimed funds from banks and building societies. Financial inclusion projects are second and the "social investment wholesaler" is third in line.

But Lord Hamilton, a Conservative peer, told Third Sector that he is garnering cross-party support for an amendment at the report stage that would see the bank share the dormant money equally with youth services.

"I don't think Tories and the Lib Dems have any difficulty on this principle of the bank having equal priority with youth," said Lord Hamilton.

Lord Newby, Liberal Democrat spokesman on the Treasury, has confirmed that he would support an amendment to raise the bank's position from third place. Lord Hamilton indicated that he was aware of at least two Labour Lords who would be willing to vote against the Government.

Baroness Thornton, a Labour and Co-operative peer and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Enterprise, said: "I think it's a mistake for the bank to be the third priority - we need a commitment from Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, that he is not going to give all the money to youth clubs."

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