£76m in forgotten accounts to help with living costs and energy-saving projects
ome £76 million sitting in forgotten accounts across England will be redirected to support people to get out of debt and help with energy-saving initiatives, the Government has said.
The Dormant Assets Scheme unlocks money from forgotten bank and building society accounts, when it is not possible to reunite people with their lost funds.
Among the projects that the money will benefit is one that sees no-interest loans handed to 69,000 people struggling with finances via a £45 million grant distributed by Fair4All Finance.
Hundreds of charities and social enterprises will also receive support from a pot of £31 million, distributed by social investors Access and Big Society Capital. This will be used to retrofit premises with more efficient energy systems, such as new boilers or heat pumps, solar panels, and new lighting.
The Dormant Assets Scheme will soon include further assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and the securities sectors, the Government said.
An estimated £738 million more will be made available over time, due to the expansion of the scheme to the new sectors.
Since 2011, £892 million has been released via the scheme.
Community wealth funds in England will become additional beneficiaries of the Dormant Assets Scheme, the Government said. A community wealth fund is a pot of money distributed to communities in deprived areas and released over a long time period, with local residents having a say on how to use the money.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Today we are announcing that millions of pounds will be redirected from dormant accounts to help the most vulnerable in society deal with the cost of living.
“This will have a real impact on people’s lives, help alleviate debt and provide money-saving solutions for charitable organisations.”
David Knott, chief executive, the National Lottery Community Fund, said: “As the distributor of dormant assets, the National Lottery Community Fund sees first-hand the life-changing difference this funding makes. I welcome the Government’s plans to include community wealth funds alongside existing causes.”
Dormant assets remain the property of their owners and the scheme must match what the business would have paid the owner had their assets never been transferred into the scheme. This means that owners can reclaim any money owed to them at any time.