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Dormant accounts to yield millions for good causes

Dormant accounts to yield millions for good causes

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.

Paul Artherton has a BA (Hons) Degree from Queen’s University and a MA Degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. He has worked in PR and fundraising for over 27 years. Previously assistant director for fundraising and public relations at the Simon Community Northern Ireland for seven years, for the last 17 years he has run his own fundraising consultancy business specialising in fundraising, sponsorship, public relations and recruitment. His clients have included charities, private sector and public bodies. Examples include the Ulster Cancer Foundation, Simon Communities of Ireland, NI Hospice, North and West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, Aiken Promotions, the Industrial Development Board and the Ulster Museum. He has lectured on voluntary sector management at Queens University Belfast Institute for Continuing Education. Since 2010 Paul has been a lay member of the NI Charity Tribunal.

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