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Balls publishes consultation on unclaimed assets

Treasury economic secretary Ed Balls has today launched a consultation document on proposals to introduce an unclaimed assets scheme in the UK.

The aim is to allow money in dormant bank and building society accounts to be reinvested in society, without taking away consumers’ rights to reclaim their money.

The government has been working with the industry to design a scheme on this basis since it was annouced in the 2005 pre-Budget report.

The British Bankers’ Association and the Building Societies Association have backed the proposals which will apply to bank accounts where there has been no customer activity for at least 15 years.

Banks and building societies estimate that several hundred million pounds may currently lie unclaimed and initial estimates have suggested this figure is 400m.

They also estimate that a further flow of perhaps tens of millions of pounds may become available each year.

A further government consultation document will be published later in the Spring to consider the most effective means of distributing the available assets.

Balls says: “I am delighted to announce the publication of this consultation document on a UK unclaimed assets scheme. This is a unique opportunity to provide for worthwhile reinvestment in youth services, financial inclusion and
capability, while balancing the financial interests of consumers. The document builds on the excellent cooperation with the banks and building
societies. We welcome the ongoing commitment from the sector to working
together to make the scheme a success.”

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