On 16th July the government launched a consultation to decide on future good causes to benefit from £738 million Dormant Asset Fund in England. The Consultation is open for responses for 12 weeks following the enactment of the Dormant Assets Act 2022. As the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, as well as cost of living pressures, the Government believes that now is the right time to review whether these remain the right causes for where funding from dormant assets can be allocated.
What are Dormant Assets?
A dormant asset is a financial product, such as a bank account, that has not been touched for a long time. Currently, assets in scope of the Scheme come from the banking, insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors. The Dormant Assets Scheme is led by the financial services industry and backed by the government with the aim of reuniting people with these financial assets. Where this is not possible, the Scheme unlocks this money for social and environmental initiatives across the UK.
What initiatives have been funded by the Scheme?
Currently, dormant assets funding in England is required to be spent on three causes: youth, financial inclusion, and social investment. In England to date, the Scheme has unlocked £100 million to tackle financial exclusion and problem debt through Fair4All Finance; £110 million to break down barriers to work for young people through Youth Futures Foundation; and £485 million for social investment through Big Society Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment.
What is the objective of the consultation?
The consultation is an opportunity for the public, community groups, and industry stakeholders to share their views on the social and environmental purposes of dormant assets funding in England. This consultation will allow everyone’s voice to be heard so that the Scheme can make a difference where it matters. With the cost-of-living crisis, it is more important than ever that views from Black and Minorities communities up and down the country are heard and can help shape that conversation.
What causes are being recommended?
Historically the government has focused on three causes and allocated capital to:
Youth - the provision of services, facilities, or opportunities to meet the needs of young people
Financial inclusion - the development of individuals’ ability to manage their finances or the improvement of access to personal financial services
Social investment - funding for social investment wholesalers to support civil society organisations
The government, however, has recognised there are other social and environmental and social causes that could benefit from funding. The consultation outlines one of these proposals:
Community Wealth Fund (CWF) proposal: where long-term funding for community infrastructure is distributed to more deprived areas in so called ‘left behind’ areas. This will aim to fund local amenities and other social infrastructure.
The consultation makes clear that the government are open to suggestions and is inviting a conversation for other social or environmental causes to be considered.
What is Voice4Change England doing?
Voice4Change England will be consulting with our members, grantees, and strategic partners to ensure that Black and Minoritised views are heard. We will be not only be responding to the consultation on an individual basis but will be also replying on a sector wide basis to use our collective voice. We will be asked to rank in preference the causes we would like to support as well as having the opportunity to suggest other causes. Hence, we see this an opportunity to empower those civil society organisations who are fighting for race equality.
We will be hosting a Dormant Assets webinar, Chaired by our Director Kunle Ololude MBE, to invite thoughts and suggestions on how V4CE should respond to this consultation with a date to be confirmed. This will be your chance to tell us what we should be demanding from central government.
When does the consultation close?
The consultation is now open for responses and will close on Sunday 9 October.
If you are interested in the Dormant Assets scheme and would like to discuss further. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to consultation
Social investment wholesaler - a body that exists to assist or enable other bodies to give financial or other support to organisations that exist wholly or mainly to provide benefits for society or the environment