Financial News

Government To Raid Lost Cash Billions For Charity

The government wants to give hundreds of millions of pounds locked up in lost savings and investments to charity.

The money will go to good causes across the UK.

The Dormant Assets Scheme has already financed projects of £600 million by taking cash from inactive bank and building society accounts.

Now Civil Society Minister Baroness Barran wants to fund more community projects by extending the scheme to insurance, investment and securities that are lying dormant without a traceable owner.

Since 2011, high street banks and building societies have transferred money from sleeping accounts into the scheme.

Unlocking money for good causes

Donor companies must try to reunite owners with their money before making the transfers.

If money is switched to the scheme and an owner comes forward, they are reimbursed in full.

An account is considered dormant if no transactions have taken place for at least 15 years.

“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,” said Baroness Barran.

“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 whilst potentially unlocking millions more pounds for good causes.”

Community bank Big Society Capital has taken the lion’s share of the cash – £400 million – and spent the money on housing, jobs and training for more than 300,000 people.

Reclaiming missing money

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

“This 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.”

Around £15 billion is waiting to be reclaimed in ‘lost’ accounts.

Checks for lost bank and building society cash and premium bonds can be carried out online for free – but you will need a list of addresses and dates that you lived there.

The Pension Tracing Service helps locate missing workplace pensions, also for free.

The Unclaimed Assets Register can reunite investors and savers with lost accounts, but charges a £25 fee for a search.

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