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August 7, 2007

Treasury closes in on dormant accounts

by Gill Montia

Story link: Treasury closes in on dormant accounts

The National Consumer Council (NCC) has come out in support of proposals from the Treasury select committee on unclaimed assets.

The committee is in favour of developing a single search facility that will be in line with the NCC’s proposals for a UK Lost and Found service, that would make it easier for consumers to trace unclaimed assets.

Such a facility would link current schemes operated by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies’ Association and National Savings and Investments.

However, the NCC would like to go further and persuade banks to be more proactive in seeking out dormant account owners.

This approach is likely to have widespread support, as the Treasury select committee is recommending that banks should be forced to release money in dormant accounts for use in good causes.

The Government has been mulling over a scheme to use the money in dormant accounts for social projects since 2005, and latest estimates suggest that the funds available could amount to £400 million.

For this purpose, the Treasury has defined dormant accounts as accounts that have seen no account-holder led activity for 15 years but the new report from the select committee asks for accounts to be considered dormant after 10 years.

It also calls for dormant money in National Savings & Investments accounts to be used to form part of a central fund that will support youth projects across the UK.

If the committee’s proposals are accepted, the money available for such a fund could amount to £1 billion.


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