Progress on dormant bank accounts

Progress on dormant bank accounts
Scottish Government

The distribution of millions of pounds from dormant bank accounts to third sector organisations in Scotland is a stage closer.

The money has lain forgotten in accounts for years and the best efforts of banks and building societies have failed to reunite it with its owners. Legislation has been passed to enable the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) to distribute this money, to support social and environmental purposes.

The Scottish Government has now issued formal instructions to BIG Scotland, asking them to take into account four themes when deciding who should benefit from the grants:

The themes are:

Opportunities for children and young people
Addressing health inequalities through increased activity
Bridging the gap between older and young people
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."

Welcoming the announcement 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."

Dormant accounts are defined in the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 as those which have seen no customer-initiated activity for at least 15 years.

Last year, the Scottish Parliament approved the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts (Scotland) Order 2010 (SSI 2010/278), which was made under section 20(1) of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 ("the 2008 Act"). The Order came into force on 2 July 2010 and provides for the restriction of distribution of dormant account funds to third sector organisations to support activities which promote strong, resilient and supportive communities.

On July 6 last year, the then Minister Jim Mather wrote to Alison Magee, Chair of the BIG Scotland Committee, advising of the SG’s intention to issue a Direction to BIG under section 22(5)(b) of the 2008 Act. The purpose of that letter was to consult BIG on a preliminary draft of the Direction, as required under section 22(7) of the 2008 Act before the Direction is finalised and issued.

On September 20 this year, Mr Swinney wrote to the UK Chair of Big Lottery to formally issue the finalised terms of the Policy Direction to Big Lottery Fund. The four themes to be taken into account in the development of a grant scheme are detailed above.

The BIG Lottery Fund distributes lottery funding to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. It also uses its expertise in grant-giving to distribute non-Lottery funding.

Full details of the BIG Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards in Scotland are available on their website and through the BIG Lottery Fund Public Enquiries Line: 0300 1237110. Textphone: 0141 2421500.