Millions in dormant bank accounts to be given to charity

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£3million will be given to good causes next spring

A £3M fortune in cash from dormant bank accounts is about to be handed out to Scots charities.

And tens of millions more is set to flow to good causes as a result of seizing money from accounts that have not been used for at least 15 years.

The first payments to charities will be made in spring next year, the Scottish Government confirmed today (Tue).

Money from accounts can only be seized if the best efforts of banks and building societies have failed to reunite the cash with the account holders.

The plans were first announced in 2008 when the Dormant Bank Accounts Act came into force.

Legislation has been passed by the Scottish Government to enable the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) to distribute untouched money to support social and environmental purposes.

And the government has issued formal instructions to BIG Scotland, asking them to take into account four themes when deciding who should benefit from the grants.

These include opportunities for children and young people, addressing health inequalities through increased activity, bridging the gap between older and young people and creating community based employment opportunities.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “The Big Lottery Fund in Scotland has already started preparing for the distribution of this money and I look forward to seeing the detailed plans which will allow the first grants to go out by spring next year.

“Social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations play an important role in Scotland.  They deliver superb services and connect with most the vulnerable people in our society.

“By enhancing the self-sufficiency of the third sector now we can look forward to a future where these organisations play a full role in public sector reform.”

Jackie Killeen, Big Lottery Fund Scotland director, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government on the distribution of dormant bank accounts funding, which will provide much-needed investment in Scotland’s third sector.

“We have already begun the preparatory work for this and will shortly begin a targeted consultation to enable key stakeholders to engage with our proposals.  Following this, we will prepare to distribute the funds in line with the four themes agreed by the Scottish Cabinet. We hope to make the first funding available before the end of this financial year.”

Account holders who discover the existence of a dormant account in their name in future will still be able to claim the funds, even if the money has already been given to charity.

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