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Charity dormant funds held up because of no local NI government

Charity dormant funds held up because of no local NI government

Over £19 million available for charity in from the fund will not be released until a new Executive is formed, according to the Department of Finance.

“The policy for the New Opportunities Fund which will enable the utilisation of the Dormant Accounts funds is currently being developed,” a Department statement explained.

It went on: “The release and use of these funds is a decision for the Northern Ireland Executive.”

Talks will begin soon to re-establish an Executive in Northern Ireland. But there is little optimism that an agreement will be reached quickly.

Dormant bank account initiative

The dormant bank account initiative distributes money from accounts unused for 15 years. Since 2008, £360m has been recovered and spent, none of it in NI, according to BBC NI.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said £10m was already available and a further £9.2m was earmarked for the next two years.

In response to a Freedom of Information request from fundraising adviser Neil Irwin, the Department of Finance said: “The intention to develop a scheme for the use of dormant account funds in Northern Ireland has been announced on four separate occasions by the following ministers: Sammy Wilson, Simon Hamilton, Mervyn Storey and Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.”

Mr Irwin told the BBC that it was “disgraceful” that the money was not being available to charities working in the education, health, disability and arts sectors. The urgency with which some charities need such could not be overstated.

He said: “It is money the sector needs, organisations are having to close because of lack of funds.”

The government is considering whether to extend the scheme to other classes of unclaimed financial assets, including shares, pensions, insurance policies and other investments which could bring the sum available in the UK to around £2 billion.

 

Photo: Stormont by Diego Sideburns on Flickr.com

 

 

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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