CashMar 7 2023

Dormant assets scheme to deploy £800mn in forgotten cash

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Dormant assets scheme to deploy £800mn in forgotten cash
The government has expanded the dormant assets scheme and will deploy £800mn to communities and individuals in need (Miles Willis/Bloomberg)
BySally Hickey

Some £800mn sat in dormant bank accounts and pensions will be used to boost local communities and those struggling with the cost of living.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport said today (March 7) that the Dormant Assets Scheme will immediately re-distribute £76mn sat in forgotten bank accounts, with a further £738mn made available over time.

The scheme initially redistributed cash in bank and building society accounts, and has now been widened to include pensions, as well as insurance, investment and wealth management products that have remained unclaimed.

The scheme will issue £45mn in interest-free loans to 69,000 people struggling with finances, through a grant distributed by Fair4All Finance.

This is an important step in supporting enterprises and communitiesStephen Muers, Big Society Capital

A further £31mn will be distributed through Access and Big Society Capital to retrofit the premises of charities and social enterprises.

The scheme has also been extended to introduce community wealth funds as a beneficiary.

These funds distribute cash on a long-term basis to communities in deprived areas, with local residents deciding how that money is spent.

Dormant assets are those that are left untouched for long periods. The scheme aims to reunite the owners with their assets, and if this is not possible, the cash will be absorbed into the scheme.

Since 2011, the scheme has redistributed £892mn, and beneficiaries include The Greater Manchester Homes Partnership, which housed 355 homeless people in the area, and Chanctonbury Community Leisure in Sussex, which was able to build a new 3G pitch.

Stephen Muers, chief executive of Big Society Capital, said this is an important step in supporting the enterprises and communities that are helping those most in need at a critical time.  

“The social investment infrastructure is already in place, meaning we will be able to deploy funds at pace.”

Stephen Bediako, co-founder of Pathway Fund, said: “The creation of a community wealth fund is an exciting development forward in steps to put communities first - with scope to grow and improve local access to focused resources - with local residents empowered and hopefully creating real impact and growth in those areas.”

The expansion of the scheme follows a consultation by the Financial Conduct Authority last year.

At the same time, the Investment Association created a tool to re-unite individuals with an estimated £781mn in lost investments.