Assembly permission has been sought to have Northern Ireland included in Westminster legislation aimed at releasing millions of pounds from inactive savings accounts. A similar scheme in the Irish Republic has realised over €100 million for a wide range of community and charitable activities.
Speaking in support of the Legislative Consent Motion, Finance Minister, Peter Robinson MP, MLA said that the Dormant Bank & Building Society Accounts Bill is a commonsense measure which will release considerable funds back into society.
As a result of discussions with the banking industry, a voluntary scheme has been designed which will allow funds from inactive accounts to be ploughed back into society. Northern Ireland will benefit alongside the other UK regions on a population share basis, the money becoming available in 2009.
The Minister said that the amount of money involved is estimated at several hundred million pounds for the UK as a whole, with tens of millions of pounds accruing annually thereafter.
Banks will be launching a comprehensive re-uniting exercise ahead of the scheme’s introduction to minimise the number of reclaims once the legislation has come into effect.
A dormant account is one where there has been no customer-related activity for at least 15 years.
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